Art & Design

Photo Essay: America Through the Eyes of the Impossible Project

Art & Design

Photo Essay: America Through the Eyes of the Impossible Project

The road trip is an American classic. A rite of passage, one of those things everyone “has” to do at least once. Crossing the wide, lonely expanses of our country, moments fading into hours as mile markers blaze up then fade away into the darkness behind, puts things into a new perspective.

It’s also a lot of fun.

While the road trip story is a classic, it has also been done to death by touring companies and bands. It was my thought that taking the northern route, driving the Interstate in the dead of winter and hitting roadside attractions along the way, would give a new twist to an old idea. How many people want to drive 12 hours out of their way in negative degree weather to take a photo of a Swedish horse sculpture?  We did.  And I have the windburn to prove it.

The idea for this trip was pretty simple: Team up with Swedish shoe brand Tretorn and drive from their HQ in Boston to Salt Lake City, shooting photos along the way with Impossible Project instant film,  on old Polaroid cameras. Upon arrival, the images would be culled into a ‘zine and pop-up photo exhibit for the Outdoor Retailer Show and Sundance Film Festival, respectively.

One thing you can count on with any adventure like this is eventually it will take on a life of its own.  All those hours in the car forge a tribe-like bond between travelers, an us-against-them mentality that makes other, more normal interactions seem strange at first.  One’s sense of personal space and what is appropriate become skewed… There are no secrets in the humid confines of a mid-size SUV.

I’ll let the photos tell the story, but between harassing toll attendants, crashing a high-end men’s clothier with our resident bear, ice fishing next to a ghost town in the Colorado mountains in spring-like temperatures, almost freezing to death in Moab and somehow winding up at a Naughty By Nature concert at the Sundance Film Festival, it was one hell of a ride.

All photos taken on Impossible Project PX680 Color Protection film, with the exception of the lone black and white image, which is on PX100 silver shade.

See more of our adventures on Instgram via username jjamesjoiner and #tretorntrip