I’d been thinking about how the inclusion of a road in a photograph affects the way I felt and what I thought about when I viewed the image. So, on a recent evening, I searched my catalog for photographs in which a road was a prominent feature of the composition. I found and created a new collection of a dozen examples. As I examined them more closely I discovered that they fell into two broad categories: one in which the road drew my eye into a clearly seen destination, the other where the road disappeared into parts unknown.
While making landscape photographs I look for a place to set my camera in order to represent an evocative view. I want my print to give the viewer a feeling that they are standing, virtually, where I had stood to make the photograph. I call this “giving the viewer a place to stand.” When a road is also included in the composition, the viewer is not only offered a place to stand, but he/she is invited to enter deeper into the image.
As I continued looking at my road photographs I began to explore what I was feeling when I made these two kinds of images. In the case of the road leading to a clearly seen destination, the feeling was obvious: the road had drawn me to a view that exuded a sense of heightened beauty or grandeur. It was as if I had arrived at a captivating place and could now stop and gaze at the view. I felt happy…my spirt soared. The second type, where the road disappeared around a bend or over a hill, made me wonder what was beyond, what awaited me. I felt a sense of curiosity, mystery or longing. In both cases the inclusion of a road in the image invited me in–stimulating new feelings and thoughts. Following are a couple more examples: