The southern roadside landscape is, in an odd way, a thing of both beauty and heartbreak. And since my college days (University of Montevallo), images from the roadside have always been a part of my portfolio. Although my footprint now includes explorations into both Kentucky and the great state of Illinois (my birthplace), I still see the world from a mostly southern point of view. My work now involves photographing roadside environments and found situations along our lesser-known highways. This series is my attempt to show both structures and discovered situations, as they are found, in varying states of habitation, decline and abandonment.
The 2011 Portfolio
part one “The Eldorado Motel”
Images from my early exploration of an abandoned, yet relatively intact motel near Nashville, Tennessee.
part two “One Night in Nashville”
I was visiting my sister and she kept mentioning the neon sign at The Drake Motel, so I decided to go see it for myself. It was not the best neighborhood to be in, especially alone at night, but it was at least entertaining.
part three “Road Side Explorations”
These were the very beginning of my on-going road side exploration series. “Thank you David” was on the road somewhere in Tennessee and the other images are from my very first roadside exploration along US51 through Illinois. I have always felt that this trip was the starting point of my current roadside environment series. Edinburg (#39) is a signature image in my portfolio and “408” is a personal favorite.
The 2012 Portfolio
This was the year I began the planned and structured runs (highway explorations) to find my roadside environments. The trip to Illinois a year before laid the foundations for it, but it was during this particular year that I started to figure out what I was looking for and the best ways to find it.
March and April
These images are from the first 3 roadside runs of 2012. My March 24th run was along US 11 and then back to Birmingham, while April was dedicated solely to exploring along US 411 and US 278 through Alabama and into Georgia.
This was a busy and successful month for me on the road because I was able to get out on the road a little more than usual. I explored US11 north into Dade County, Georgia on the 8th, and then went up US411 on the 9th. Followed up by 2 days in the Meridian, Mississippi area on the 15th and 16th. Closed out the month with a run down to Havana, Alabama on the 29th. This made up the largest part of my 2012 portfolio.
The 2013 Portfolio
My 2013 portfolio features images from an early April trip to central Illinois. The images from Montgomery County, Odin, Il and Washington County were taken during my afternoon drive from Springfield south toward Cairo. I had hoped to make it into Missouri for the night, but some car trouble appeared and so I faced an unexpected overnight stay in Cairo, Illinois. (Blog Post #3, One Night in Cairo)
There items below were found on the ground near the A-1 Used Cars sign, remnants from a long gone thrift store or yard sale. The morning light was perfect, and I did not have to do anything except point, compose and shoot. I went back an hour later, the light had changed to a higher point in the sky, and it was just not the same.
The 2015 Portfolio
This images in this portfolio were made in both 2013 and 2014. The first roadside exploration was a short run north into Blount and Walker Counties on March 15th. In between was the trip to Illinois, and another run in to Northwest Alabama and Mississippi on July 15th. My 2014 campaign opened on March 30th, followed by a May 15th trip into both Marion and Hale counties. June 17th was a long run through Mississippi during my return trip from a family reunion in Long Beach. And 2014 wrapped up with a return trip into Hale and Marion Counties on the August 27th.
The 2016 Portfolio
2016 was one of those years I just was not able to get out as much as I wanted. An April trip to Illinois opened things up, but that about wrapped up the spring. June was the other big month, with a trip into Mississippi early on and then back to Illinois to close it out.