Road Trip as a Photographic Genre

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

The next several articles will be about “The Road Trip” as a legitimate genre in Photography.

The ‘Road Trip’ is such a quintessential part of the American psyche. I am admittedly ignorant of things European but I don’t think that they lust after the same thing on their continent. Perhaps because they have such great train service no one thinks of the trans-europe experience as such a big deal. Not so in America. This is huge country explored but not settled until the 20th century. The advent of the automobile primarily helped this expansion west. Before World War II the road trip was not glamorous – Think ‘Grapes of Wrath’ depression era travel. After the war with the completion of the American Highway system and later the Interstate, the travel was easier and became an adventurous pursuit. 

The question, “Are you up for a road trip?” has always been answered YES! In the early 60’s we had the TV show, Route 66 which was the epitome of the American Road Trip . So it would come as no surprise that a distinct, photographic genre arose out of this lust for the open road. What follows are but a few examples of photobooks relating to the road trip. Some are not so much about the trip but rather things that are seen on road trips.

So it is with no surprise that many established and no so established photographers have made it a rite of passage to engage in this genre.

The Russian Journal – Robert Capa with John Steinbeck

The Road to Reno – Inge Morath

The Americans – Robert Frank

ILF and Petrov’s American Road Trip

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