Between LA and Texas - PART II

As I’d written in the last entry, I’ve spent a good deal of time over the past decade-plus driving back and forth between Los Angeles and Texas

In general exploring California, the Southwest, and Texas whenever I can, with occasional jaunts into northern New Mexico and now two Utah and Colorado drive-throughs

And that I often recapture scenes, this sporadic tradition dating back to 2008, the year of my first photo road trip outside of California

I thought I’d share in this entry a selection of then and now photographs, some of the earliest and some of the most recent, which includes a few b/w photos from the most recent ramblings, fresh from dr5 (Ilford Delta 400), as well as a few additional new color (Kodak Portra 400)

One of my favorite little towns along the Route 66 / Highway 40 path that I take more than any other is Seligman, Arizona. I think I’ve mentioned this before. Great little eatery there, too, called Westside Lilo’s Cafe. Beautiful expanse of land out that way. Quiet. And then Seligman, tiny, and one of just a few joints sporadically dotting the long, empty stretch from Ash Fork to Kingman

The old Seligman service station lights still stand, as does the old Datsun, more than a decade later. Two very familiar sites that I like to check in on whenever out that way. While the only thing that changes about the station, aside from time’s influence, is the presence of greenery or lack thereof, the Datsun has been known to move here and there in the little bordered lot it occupies

These Seligman photographs are being shown ahead of the others because they are some of the first I’d made outside of California

The old service station lights, Seligman, AZ, 2008/9 - 4x5 Polaroid

The old service station lights, Seligman, AZ, 2008/9 - 35mm

The old service station lights, Seligman, AZ, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

The old service station lights, Seligman, AZ, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

The old Datsun, Seligman, AZ, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

The old Datsun, Seligman, AZ, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

The old Datsun, Seligman, AZ, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Often while either entering or exiting Seligman, depending on which direction I’m traveling, I make exposures from the overpass on the edge of town. There’s an ease about the view. And it’s familiar now. A reacquainting. Each time

It’s usually during the day that I find myself on the overpass, but this last trip in July 2019 we found ourselves planted there at dusk. Beautiful. No tripod, rest the camera on the concrete barricade, hold it still

Seligman, AZ, overpass at dusk, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Seligman, AZ, overpass, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Hi-Line Motel, Ash Fork, AZ, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Hi-Line Motel, Ash Fork, AZ, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Often not much will change about a location. Maybe something has faded a bit more, or the grass is longer, or shorter, or the trees more full, or less so, or you’ll get different clouds, or it’ll be overcast or without clouds, dark, light, or dusk. Or you’ll just move around perhaps a bit differently than the time before and capture the thing from a new position, as was the case with the most recent exposure of the Sandell in Clarendon, Texas, which also includes its reflection in a foreground puddle

But while naturally interested in what may be different about a view with each new landing somewhere, or wanting to see it a bit differently than we did the time before, we simply want to see these things again, because we know them now. If nothing else, they are landmarks, reminders. But the returning to familiar views, there’s something special about it, and it becomes personal. It becomes important somehow. These simple American scenes; this life out there; the odds and ends, the quiet, the strange, the beautiful, and what remains; the lay of the land as it lay, and noticing it, paying it mind, and allowing yourself to be drawn to it, this is the driving force. The curiosity. But admiration, too. And the admiration seems to grow with each new visit somewhere

As I’ve written before, Highway 287 in Texas is one of my favorite and probably most photographed highways. Ken’s Liquor is in Quanah. I first noticed it at night on a road trip in 2016 to Los Angeles, made a few exposures of it with Fuji 3000b peel-apart instant print film. Returned to Ken’s the following year with the old Graflex 4x5 camera while making photographs throughout Texas for what would become my 2018 book A PLAIN VIEW. It was night then, too

And then most recently this summer, during the day. The night photos of Ken’s likely resonate more, I think for obvious reasons, but it was important to me to photograph it during the day, to see its other side and to include that shade of it in the collection

Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 4x5 film

Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Inside Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Inside Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Inside Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Inside Sandell, Clarendon, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Ken’s Liquor, Quanah, TX, Highway 287, 2016 - 3.25x4.25 Fuji 3000b instant film

Ken’s Liquor, Quanah, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 4x5 film

Ken’s Liquor, Quanah, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Palace, Childress, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 4x5 film

Palace, Childress, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Adult Video, Highway 287, TX, 2017 - 4x5 film

Adult Video no more, Highway 287, TX, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

I.O.O.F. from the Memphis, TX, overpass above Highway 287, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

I.O.O.F. from the Memphis, TX, overpass above Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Grand, Electra, TX, Highway 287, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Grand, Electra, TX, Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Ford, Amarillo, TX, by way of Highway 287, 2017 - 4x5 film

Ford, Amarillo, TX, by way of Highway 287, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

The last time I’d been through Colorado with camera was 2009

It was on the way back to Los Angeles from Texas

I stopped along Highway 70 to photograph a view of sparsely situated houses off in the distance dividing the highway and the mountains behind them

That stretch west I was accompanied by photographer Jon Beck

And recently, in July, Jon was with me again, 10 years later, but now eastbound from Los Angeles

And it was Jon who’d spotted the houses this time around

I pulled off, turned around, exposed two rolls of Portra, one of Delta

Beautiful overcast a decade ago, a more open sky this time around

Houses off Highway 70, CO, 2009 - 4x5 Polaroid

Houses off Highway 70, CO, 2009 - 35mm

Houses off Highway 70, CO, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Church / van, CO, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Church / Tire / Lumber Mart, CO, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Colorado, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Rafters, Rio Grande, NM, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Rafters, Rio Grande, NM, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Structure and overgrowth, Tucumcari, NM, 2017 - 120 Delta 100 (6x6)

Same structure and overgrowth, Tucumcari, NM, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Ford, Tucumcari, NM, 2016 - 3.25x4.25 Fuji 3000b instant film

Ford, Tucumcari, NM, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Old service station, Highway 395, CA, 2006/7 - 8x10 Polaroid 809

Old service station; Revcon RV still present, Highway 395, CA, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

Forgotten cafe, Highway 395, CA, 2019 - 120 Portra (6x7)

*same cafe as seen from the inside in the previous journal entry*

Forgotten cafe, Highway 395, CA, 2006/7 - 8x10 Polaroid 809

When not entering or exiting Los Angeles through Barstow, I go through the California desert by way of Highway 62

Beautiful, interesting geography, structures, people

A bit touristy, busy in places, but ragged, strange, cinematic nonetheless

Undeniably beautiful land

Church, Amboy, CA, 2008/9 - 4x5 Polaroid

Church, Amboy, CA, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Up the hill from Highway 62 and looking east, CA desert, 2018 - 35mm Portra

Up the hill from Highway 62 and looking east, CA desert, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Site of house fire; chair remains intact, CA desert, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Highway 62 from above, CA desert, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Mobile home park roofline at ground level, CA desert, 2018 - 35mm Portra

Mobile home park roofline at ground level, CA desert, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Off Highway 62, CA desert, 2018 - 35mm Portra

Off Highway 62, CA desert, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Fence in parking lot adjacent to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, 2008/9 - 35mm

Same fence in parking lot adjacent to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Cabazon Dinosaur, 2008/9 - 35mm

Cabazon Dinosaur, 2018 - 35mm Portra

Cabazon Dinosaur, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

South of Highway 10, in Cabazon, lay a few interesting stretches of rural road, some houses here and there, abandoned farms and trailers. And from just about every place there is to stand, the spaceship-like Morongo Casino can be seen rearing its ugly head

Strange, appealing little pocket

Morongo Casino from south of Highway 10, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Morongo Casino from south of Highway 10, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

Morongo Casino / ETERNITY sign from south of Highway 10, 2019 - 120 Delta (6x7)

ETERNITY sign, south of Highway 10, 2008/9 - 35mm

The exposures usually start or stop in Cabazon when going the CA desert route

And so I’ll let this entry stop here, too

Eventually these and more then and now photographs will see themselves on the pages of a book

In the meantime, I will share more here as I collect them …

Jason Lee5 Comments