Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Diesels and Dinosaurs

I would never have described myself as much of a fine-art photography buff until I started buying books of photography by photographers I'd never heard of at estate sales (and apart from Arbus, Sherman and Mapplethorpe, I hadn't heard of too many). I found this beautiful hardcover copy of Steve Fitch's Diesels and Dinosaurs: Photographs of the American Highway buried under piles of sewing patterns in someone's craft room. It was signed by the photographer to someone named Irma (the crafter?) in 1985. Close readers of this blog may remember a certain sewing book with a risque bookmark, which came from the very same craft room. Who was this Irma anyway? She seems like she must've been fun. Well, anyway, this book is gorgeous; Fitch took these photographs in the early 70s, when he was in his early twenties. But they are pretty timeless. To quote from the impenetrable artspeaky blurb on the jacket flap: "There is a sense of place...that is placeless...They are monumental yet banal. They are forces yet essentially directionless..." Okay, I think I agree with that assessment, but you should just look at them. My attempt to photograph Fitch's photographs is pretty pitiful; to get a much better idea of his work, go here.

Snakepit operator, Hwy 66, Sayre, OK 1973

Billboard, Hwy 66, near Albuquerque, NM 1972

Drive-in theater, Highway 81, Waco, TX 1973

Diorama, Hwy I-75, Gaylord, MI 1973

Thunderbeast, Hwy 97, Chiloquin, OR 1972

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