Sunday, October 10, 2010

Anytown, USA.

"Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time."
-Stephen Wright

It was a busy weekend and over far too quickly... but on a positive note, I did spend some much-needed time with my muse and we stayed in this funky motel room in the picture. I had a few minutes to kill on Saturday while I was by myself and I snapped this photo since I had been carrying my gear with me all morning. At the time, I really wasn't sure if I was going to get anything with the shot. I didn't even have a clear idea, but as I'll explain, the idea seemed to find me.

I have a fond spot in my heart for kitsch and americana. I grew up as a teenager hanging out at truck stop diners and bumming around my tiny town in whichever friend's car had gas that week. Some of my fondest memories growing up were from those years. They carried into college where more nights than I'd like to count were spent driving from Philly out to New Jersey just to stay awake 'till 3am drinking coffee and playing cards and making friends with the blue-haired waitresses. These were the days before ipods were everywhere. We made mix cd's and piled six-deep in a tiny ford focus and cranked the volume. Today, I love finding a good thrift store and checking out discarded bowling trophies and someone's old (only slightly-broken) Jesus statue. Maybe a t-shirt with some awful slogan on it from the grand opening of a now defunct TV & appliances superstore. These things speak to me in an amusing way. They fill in the details between then and now. I feel like one of those egyptian archaeologists digging up a treasure-filled tomb except I'm dusting off Uncle Cletus's golf shoes.

Anyhow, these relics and artifacts of americana have shaped our way of life. They came from somewhere, and like a time machine, they can give you a glimpse into a by-gone era. Which brings me to that room... The bedside lamps were totally different. The cord for the lamp on my side of the bed stretched halfway across the room suspended in air because (presumably) it was the nearest outlet. Each light had a different type of bulb in it. There were these weird old National Geographic circa 1935 'paintings' of ducks on the wall. Basically, it looked like the room was decorated with knick-knacks from a yard sale and I wouldn't say that estimation is far off. But it had a charm to it. It was clean and all, but you could smell the age of the furniture. These little locked-away rooms are like tiny museums for forgotten ordinary things and the forgotten ordinary people who played a part in those elements combining over the years to make the photo I took this weekend. And that makes them extraordinary. As it turns out, the idea for the picture was simple... to give those quirky little elements a moment to shine and to celebrate the random series of event that brought them in front of me.

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