FROM SOUVENIRS EXHIBTION: LLEIDA AND GIRONA, CATALONIA, SPAIN 2011-2012
This isn’t the suburbs, though these old roads will take you there eventually. This is where our cities begin, or at least once did. A lifetime ago, these roads welcomed weary motorists with opportunity to eat and rest. (You’re almost there.) That was before freeways divided our cities into east-and-west and north-and-south sides. Remnants of roadside nostalgia remain among fringe businesses: motels, used car lots, pawn shops, strip clubs, and the inherent cast of supporting characters. Here you can fix your car, have your lawn mower blades sharpened, or buy a gun. There is plenty of gas too, and prepackaged food. Tourists don’t see this stuff. They know it exists—it must, right?
Life at its most extreme plays out right here. But for a brief period, just before sunrise, activity and noise subside as street lamps cast theatrical lighting on derelict scenes, turning them into empty sets embedded with and awaiting human drama, rife with a foreboding silence. I am interested in capturing this anticipation, this fear of the unknown: What lurks in the shadows, behind a door, inside a parked vehicle, or behind a lighted window? Such fear is omnipresent, especially in the outskirts of our cities— surveillance cameras, chain link fences, barbed wire, “Keep Out” signs, flood lights, barred windows—and is part of our American psyche.