Reinterpretation of places as improvisational music and incomplete evidence of fragmentary encounters
For over two years I have been photographing the human and physical landscape along Route 22, a mostly rural road connecting New York City and Canada. The idea for this work came about at a time when I was making frequent trips along a particular stretch of NY22 to visit my son in Vermont. Eventually I decided to try to render this entire corridor in Upstate New York visually legible, from the Bronx to the North Country.
I treat the road as a metaphor for the narrative journey and the temporal flow of our inner lives. But in a larger sense picture-making itself is a metaphor for the provisional and incomplete nature of knowledge, the result of having only fragments of information. Taking the time to share in the experience of people in the landscape, my photographs exist as subjective and incomplete evidence of these fragmentary encounters.
I am informed by literary and photographic road trip genres, but my work departs from the tradition of quickly moving through America. Like improvisational music, I am trying to build and reinterpret a place through repeated sessions. Human subjectivity, color, light, chance, movement, and rhythm are the elements that help me describe an environment in flux, to understand a place as process rather than fact.
©Bleek Magazine. All images and text: Rick Schatzberg.