El Camino Royale
       
     
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El Camino Royale
       
     
El Camino Royale

The photos are made on a winter road trip I have done several times from my home in Colorado to the southern California desert. The name comes from both the iconic half-car / half-truck the El Camino and from the El Camino Real {Spanish. Camino = road; real (pronounced “ray-all”)= royal} which was a historical trail connecting Spanish Missions in California. These roads and trails are also known as “The King’s Highway” in english. The road trip as photography series is not a new thing and many well-known photographers such as Stephen Shore, Lee Friedlander, Edward Weston and Walker Evans partook of similar journeys. For my own purposes the trip serves as both a winter escape to warmer climates but also an opportunity to be alone with my camera in the expanse of the West. I generally don’t interact with other people on these trips – it is a solitary journey. GPS and cellular signals come and go and I travel through places that show less evidence of the networked world we live in. It’s hard to disappear in this current age where our identity and whereabouts is pinging from phone to satellite to phone to.... It seems like this is the only place to be left alone with my thoughts, in silence but also moving through space at seventy miles per hour. It is this inherent contrast that I love, the violence of swift car travel against the mute and desolate scroll of landscape that sits so quietly as far as I can see. Car culture is changing. At some point we will take our hands off the wheel and do a crossword puzzle or watch Netflix while the car drives itself. The danger of losing attention and driving into the ditch or hitting a coyote will be gone. The road trip has inherent contradictions – the bittersweet fact that when we pleasurably barrel down the highway “making good time” we are concurrently polluting our own air. Will solar, self-driving cars bring no emissions, no tracks, just looking? Maybe we’ll be able to take in everything, record every square inch emanating out from our windowed vantage point. I think I will lament the fact that sometimes I may have missed something, some detail that is forever lost behind me in a cloud of dust. That I couldn’t see everything or take it all in because I had both hands on the wheel. I'll miss the split attention of eyes on the dotted line, eyes on the landscape looking for pictures.

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