The first in a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.
In March, I quit my job in advertising to pursue a career in photography. With no money coming in and gas prices at an all-time high, I decided the timing was perfect for a soul-searching cross-country road trip. For three months I traveled in my FJ Cruiser (a great rig for all the elements, not so great for gas mileage). After a trip to Austin to cover SXSW, my route became a nonsensical zigzag pattern around the western half of the country, the points based on wherever I had a friend to stay with, what the internet said was interesting or whatever struck me that day as worth exploring. I was traveling by myself, and most days were planned the morning-of in a coffee shop. I spent significant time in the West Texas; Moab, Utah; Indio, California; Las Vegas (where my parents live); Los Angeles; and driving up the Pacific Coast Highway. There was talk about making it to Alaska but I’ll have to wait until I quit my next job to do that.
I tried to shoot a portrait every day, and I ultimately shot about 70 portraits of people I met along the way. One reason I chose to do portraits was as a way to force myself to interact with people and situations as I traveled. For this reason, I shot mostly film on an older medium-format camera. The process was slower and it made me take my time with the people I was shooting. I would either just see someone I wanted to shoot or find myself in conversation with someone and I would segue into asking for a portrait. Most people were very receptive. Only a few said no.