On the first morning of an intended photographic project, outside of my motel was a gas station from which I photographed a dark and rolling tanker truck as its four black tires passed a line of four half-buried white tires. In the misty distance was a grazing horse, framed by the back of the truck. In front of the station was a large, hand-lettered sign advertising milk, and across the road a small, local motel. As someone later commented, “These are about everything”.
The painter Miles Forst once described gas stations as a place to go to fill up your tank and shut off your brain. That morning, however, I became aware of gas stations as a locus for many elements that characterize America. And whether stopping in or hanging out, people in motion are often around to enliven and propel the narrative.
From that moment, looking out from and looking in at gas stations became my new project, which in the end entailed travel to forty-seven states and stops at thousands of stations. All provided discoveries.
Gas Stop has been published in 2016, as a four book set, East, West, Midwest and South, by Steidl.