Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scenes from U.S. Route 1: Life under 65 m.p.h.

"In 1954 photographer Berenice Abbott set out to document one of America's most historic roads: U.S. Route 1. Abbott's goal was ' capture visually the character of an historic section of the United States, its beauties and incongruities and all.'

Over the past four years, Maine-based photographer Alexandra Daley-Clark has been following in Abbott's footsteps, documenting life along U.S. Route 1, from Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida. In her own photographic journey, Alexandra has embraced Ms. Abbott's goals and has striven to show America along U.S. Route 1, without overly embellishing, editorializing or waxing poetic about life and the passage of time.

This show features documentary-style photographs, taken with digital Nikon SLRs and an old Yashica 2¼ inch film camera, both in color and black & white. All fifteen states along U.S. Route 1 are represented in the show, capturing both life and landscape; from young potato pickers in Aroostook County, to the boom-town that is Miami. The photographs show the similarities, the contradictions and the uniqueness to be found along this familiar stretch of road.

Although U.S. Route 1 often parallels the interstate, it shares little in common with its faster, more efficient cousin. What it lacks in convenience however, it makes up for with its charm and regional character. We are overwhelmed everyday by technology and the shrinking effect it has on the globe, bringing us all closer and closer together in "virtual space". U.S. Route 1 connects us in real, tangible space; a slow ribbon of asphalt which reminds us of our humanity."

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