Photography Project 52: Week 26 – Photographing Americana

Americana is one of those things…..you know it when you see it.  It’s the wacky stuff on the side of the road that makes you say “what the…..”, and if it’s bizarre enough you’ll slam on the breaks and turnaround to check it out.  You know, the big chicken or the massive dinosaur out in the middle of the desert.   I confess, I love the kitsch and will beg Peter to turn around so I can check it out.

This stuff always makes me stop and scratch my head.  Someone conceived it, someone made it, someone bought it, and someone took the time to put it out on the roadside.  It is interesting to look at, but can be really difficult to photograph.  The object is usually surrounded by wires, and other things that can make composition difficult.  It can be hard to get a good angle.  We often buy something from the shop it sits in front of (that will be another project – all the kitschy stuff I’ve purchased just to take my time photographing the object.

“We” recently stopped at this incredible place south of Moab.

All the photos in this post were taken from this property.  My recommendation is:

  • Take the big photo first – get it out of your system.  I realized that when I got home my big photos weren’t good, or needed quite a bit of processing.  The photo at the top of this post is a good example.  I cropped to a pano to get rid of the white sky and dirt sidewalk, and then had to work to bring out the textures and colors.  Big photos are necessary, however to show people the place.
  • Start to hone in on the details.  For example, I took the photo of the jeep with the bone on top, and then started to work the sides, grill and tires.  The more I looked, the more interesting it was.  Whoever created this, put a lot of thought into it – look past the grill and you see a Road Closed sign, and they wrapped the grill with plates in such a way you could read most states slogans.

I plan to do a full post on some of the most interesting Americana stuff I’ve seen over the years.  But for now, here are my pics from this week.  To view full screen, click on one to enter slide show mode.

(That creepy car with the weird teeth is still giving me nightmares :))

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