Beyond the Banff National Park gates, moving east toward Calgary, near the Stoney Reserve a service station with restaurant that had been a thriving business in the sixties, seventies and even eighties is now dormant. An abandoned structure, without windows and gyprocked walls, it now provides temporary and limited shelter from the elements to travellers or hitchhikers or people seeking ‘off-the-grid’ status. The building reminds of characters, scenes and happenings within the ramble of Jack Kerouac’s novel, ‘On the Road,’ of people driven and on the move, of stories shared between travellers that may or may never meet again, of place and places where seedier things can occur. On an adjacent theme, the building reminds of the Life of Chris McCandless in Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction work, ‘Into the Wild,’ and any would-be traveller who aims to explore and take-on the world on their own terms – that traveller could find refuge in this building. Graffiti tags tattoo this building, the building paper to the quill of the traveller’s spray paint. Expressed, here, are the dominant issues confronting each traveller, assertions about justice denied, of perspective not being valued and rejected, of the irony within all that makes the world tick. In all, graffiti’s colour, shape and form pull the witness to the resilient voice of the traveller expressed upon these walls. Here, ‘the writing is on the wall’ about the state of their/our world. Most telling about these travellers and their living so close to the land is the assertion ‘The Desperate Came’.
Listening to – Eddie Vedder’s ‘Hard Sun’ from the soundtrack to ‘Into the Wild.’ Then it’s Ray Lamontagne’s ‘Hold You In My Arms,’ Radiohead’s ‘All I Need,’ the Counting Crows with ‘Omaha’ and Jack Johnson’s ‘Rodeo Clowns.’
Quote to Inspire – “I don’t care so much anymore about ‘good photography’; I am gathering evidence for history.” – Gilles Peress