Tag: jack kerouac

Curious, Unique

Utah Landscape

Utah Landscape

Having read Jack Kerouac’s novel, ‘On The Road,’ this image of American landscape holds interest; the building within this landscape was perhaps intact and used at the time the novel was written, the end of the forties. I’m liking the resulting edit, expressive in terms of colour and compositionally pulling my curiosity toward this former building.

Listening to – U2’s ‘Sleep Like a Baby Tonight,’ ‘Cedarwood Road’ and ‘Raised by Wolves.’

Quote to Inspire – “For photography to compete with painting means invoking originality as an important standard for appraising a photographer’s work, originality being equated with the stamp of a unique, forceful sensibility.” Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Desperate Tattoo

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 2

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 2

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 3

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 3

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 4

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 4

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 6

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 6

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 10

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 10

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 11

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 11

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 12

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 12

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 14

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 14

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

Reflection – Rain-soaked and Waxless

One Ton Truck - Edmonton, Alberta

One Ton Truck – Edmonton, Alberta

Of the renderings considered, this image of the one ton grain truck (or perhaps utility truck) from the fifties intrigues by way of its waxless reflection brought out by its being rain soaked.  The image’s colours are late summer’s end-of-day colours.  Night isn’t too far off, the shot taken within evening’s Golden Hour in Edmonton.  John Grisham wrote A Painted House, a growing up novel written about a boy’s witnessing America’s move from the farm (a cotton plantation) to its cities in America’s fifties; this is the kind of truck that might have been found within Grisham’s narrative.  I hadn’t thought his narrative (as autobiographical as it is) might be considered sibling narrative to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road until now.

Listening to – what is seemingly a rural truck reminds of Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

Quote to Inspire – “The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer.” – Anonymous

Parked – Not On the Road

Chevrolet - Parked, Not on the Road

A parked mid-fifties, Chevrolet four door sedan from 1955 or 1956, a Chevrolet that would have been ‘on the road’ in an era Jack Kerouac writes about in his novel with the same title – On the Road.

In the novel, a young World War II veteran, Sal Paradise, newly based in New York embarks on a career as writer, a writer in search of experience just at a time when America wrestles with new identity as world power and war victor. In one sense the book documents the restless, youthful spirit of a nation discovering identity as it moves into an era of prime economic stability.

Key among the era’s cultural entities is the independence of movement brought about by owning and driving a car. A car allows you to see the world.  And, there’s always a car going by; so, if you’ve had a mishap with yours you can thumb a ride from someone else.  Or, you can take a bus.  Again, there’s the idea of a vehicle being something where all riding within it, all have their eyes fixed on the road ahead.  Perhaps that’s part of what Kerouac aims at with message in all the travel – he might be pointing to the road ahead for the nation.  Perhaps the car and occupants image is also about riding along with shared ideologies and intentions … but this is extrapolation.

Needless to say, a variety of vehicles – cars and trucks – move Sal Paradise and his cohorts across the nation from New York to San Francisco and back again … two or three times. A friend with a car is the force initiating Sal into a road trip.  There’s the within vehicle narrative – what’s going on – and there is the travelogue narrative of Sal making sense of the America he finds along the way.  By the end of the book Sal has ridden in and driven many vehicles … he’s been more a passenger than driver, though – one able to observe the goings on rather than being the driver compelled to get where he’s going.  Perhaps there’s something there about stances that can be taken in living life.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot got me to read Kerouac’s On the Road because of a section of stream of consciousness writing embedded into the novel’s narrative – the ramble and rant of thought-life shared, somewhat soliloquy, somewhat monologue, expression utilizing meter and curious placement of rhyme usually halting abruptly with quirky insight into the issue at-hand – Life and living. Here’s the quote Jon excerpted and placed within a Switchfoot concert that led me to consider a serious read of On the Road: “… the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Listening to – Lucinda William’s Can’t Let Go from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, The White Stripes’ 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues (Live) from Under Great White Northern Lights (Live); it’s also been Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie (Live) offered by Bob Dylan from The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3 (Rare and Unreleased) 1961-1991.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.” – Edward Weston; (2) “You don’t take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it.” – Pentax Advertisement.


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