Like most people I've been concerned about the divisiveness of America, often feeling like I'm living in a country I don't know or understand. So in late June when The New York Magazine contacted me about photographing their fall fashion portfolio and pitched the concept of road-tripping throughout the US to photograph diverse (non-model) American Women, I packed my bags and started downloading podcasts. Sheri Mendes, my wildly talented assistant/new best pal and I hopped in a mini van chock full of designer clothing. Ragen Fykes would catch up with us through the rust belt on this 15-shoot, 8,186 mile journey around this magnificent country that would leave us all forever changed.
The route includes cities I've always wanted to visit, have a compelling visual aesthetic, or are destinations where family members or friends could provide some boots-on-the-ground help. In between our shoot days, we drove 7 - 12 hours to our next location. Sheri rolled on like a truck driver, while I drugged myself on Dramamine and converted the passenger seat to a roving office. In our mobile cockpit, I could virtually scout locations, cast subjects, and produce from the marvelous glories of the road. Even with the tremendous help from the NY Mag photo department, often times we were still firming up plans the day, hour, or minutes before the shoots. Despite some subjects pulling no-shows, torrential downpour in Washington DC, heat exhaustion in Lincoln, Nebraska, and missing the opportunity to photograph a honeymoon suite in Niagara Falls—equipped with a heart-shaped jacuzzi— because Niagara Falls has two sides; The US and the Canadian side! Nevertheless, we persisted and completed all 15 shoots.
This is the depiction of one journey through the three distinct voices of Holly, Shari, and Ragen.