“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. No matter, the road is life.” —Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The network of roads in America is immense, and “The Road” looms even larger in American culture. The American road has always been a place of self-discovery both for its individual travelers and, through their narratives, for the country as a whole. True to form, it can move us in opposite directions. It can lead toward a future of greater standardization and bigger development or back into a nostalgic past. It has the potential to either isolate or unify its travelers. Roads cut the landscape in two, but connect the country to itself. The road is linked to the frontier myth, but roads have hastened the congestion of the once-open West. Throughout the history of cars in this country, there has been a sustained impulse to make photographs that describe the varied and contradictory texture of the road, one that continues apace. Longer Ways to Go presents photographs from the collection of the Center for Creative Photography made of, from, on, and in the more than four million miles of road that criss-cross America, over eight decades.
The gallery talk for Longer Ways to Go: Photographs of the American Road will be held in the Doris and John Norton Gallery for the Center for Creative Photography at the Phoenix Art Museum. The talk is free and open to the public, but please RSVP here as seating is limited.