The more you consider this, the more it’s clear that road trips have been integral to photography almost from the beginning.
An excellent source is ‘The Open Road‘, by David Company (Aperture, 2014). This is focused on the American Road Trip, from Robert Frank in the 1950s to Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs in 2008.
Frank’s road trip led to the seminal work, ‘The Americans’ (1958), published just after Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road‘ (1957). Frank’s book had an introduction from Kerouac. Photography and literature are intertwined.
One of my favourite photographers, Daido Moriyama, was also influenced by Kerouac, and made Japanese road trips in the 1960s and 70s. This became part of his book ‘Farewell to Photography‘, another classic work (1972). Moriyama set out to destroy photography, presenting his publisher with a set of damaged negatives, which could be printed in any way the publisher saw fit.
“In On The Road each phrase is like one shot. The narrative is always moving, always looking at different things at the same time”.
And, for the ‘Instagram generation’, road trips have never been more current – truly a global phenomenon.
From the Aperture website:
The Open Road is the first book to explore the photographic road trip as a genre. It opens with a comprehensive introduction, which traces the rise of road culture in America and considers photographers on the move across the country and across the century, from the early 1900s to present day. Each chapter explores one body of work in depth through informative texts and a portfolio of images, beginning with Robert Frank, and including such renowned work as Garry Winogrand’s 1964, Joel Sternfeld’s American Prospects, William Eggleston’s Los Alamos, and Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi. The Open Road is a visual tour-de-force, presenting the story of photographers for whom the American road is muse.
Should be a fun project!