Americans- We’re a people whose collective personality has been defined by movement- Be it our expansion westward as a young nation into an unknown wilderness, or by a trip down to the neighborhood bowling alley. We’re a culture that can’t seem to sit still.
One of the things I love to document photographically is the Vanishing American Roadside, that vast imprint of the American psyche on the highways and back roads of our country. We’re a nation that has built an architecture, an artform, a sense of commercial archeology (no, I didn’t coin this phrase- check out The Society for Commercial Archeology to find out more) on our love affair with the automobile.
Diners, drive-in theaters, old neon, abandoned factories, houses, farms, gas stations- it all has a beauty, conveying a sense of style, function and individuality from a time before this era of homogenization and corporate sameness. Some people find great comfort in the fact that they can get the exact same meal, stay in an exact replica of the same sterile motel room from Maine to Arizona. Oh, the horror of that thought!! Give me the eccentric, the bizarre, the quirky and uniquely individual bit of roadside detritus that has been forgotten to the march of progress. I’ll take that every time!
Thank God I am not alone! I recently made a short road trip with my son, the fabled Diner Hunter, Spencer Stewart (see dinerman.wordpress.com) to meet the co-author of Diners of Pennsylvania, Kyle Weaver ( with Brian Butko & Kevin Patrick) at The Creekside Diner in Kennett Square, PA.
Forget that $5 triple mocha latte with a drizzle of cinammon- Gimme a cup of Joe!!
A bit of rust and decay along the Pennsylvania Roadside