Sunday, 24 January 2016

Commonplace flashback

The bomber was removed in 2014.

Some other road books.

The American highway has provided a treasure trove of images for photographers over the decades, it could be amateurishly made structures promoting a local enterprise or a national franchise that has spread across the country.  Richard Longstreth focuses on restaurants, gas stations, motels, stores and drive-ins rather than non-commercial vernacular buildings that could be found away from the Interstates.  His photos, taken from the late sixties and the seventies, are an interesting record because so many of these places have disappeared, even Art Lacey's bomber gas station in Milwaukee, Oregon is no more (after sixty-seven years, too).  

The chapter on stores is unusual for a commonplace photo book, large buildings that don't quite fit in the frame like a gas station, restaurant or motel, the thirty-two here are well worth including, some of which show a certain amount of streamline flair reminiscent of Arraswmith's Greyhound Terminals.

Wonderful though all these photos are the book really doesn't present them in the best light.  Probably not the author's fault but Universe (part of art publisher Rizzoli) should have known better because they have made this an upright book when the majority of the photos are landscape.  There are fifty-eight pages with a photo in the middle of the page and a slab of light grey above and below, combined these equal the depth of the photo, white page numbers on the light grey don't read too well either.  If the book was  landscape there would have been no problem.  Fortunately there are plenty of pages with two landscape photos, one above the other and they fit perfectly. 

In the tradition of travel books Road trip's cover and pages have rounded corners and a silk book mark so that the armchair traveller doesn't loose their place.

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