Hello! My name is Em Watson, and I’m a rising senior. My concentration is called something like “Mapping the Body in Space and Social Meaning,” which links my interests in dance, performance, photography, and design. This summer, I’m going on a photographic road trip exploration of the United States.This is Carol and Bridget, my road trip companions. They are both photographers as well, and Bridget is a Gallatin alum. (Carol is Steinhardt.)]
My road trip was inspired by a desire to take a photography road trip around the USA, which seems to be a kind of rite of passage for all American documentary photographers. (For some examples of some great road trip photo series, check out Robert Frank’s “The Americans“, Mitch Epstein’s “American Power”, and pretty much the entirety of this awesome book, “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip.”) When applying for this grant, some guiding questions emerged for this trip:Here is a map of our destinations and approximate dates!]
1) Where do we go, and why? In asking this, I realized that “the great american road trip” tends to be defined by a string of stops in cities with booming arts scenes. In “On The Road,” Kerouac writes about New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Which stops are the most applicable to me and my community, as a young artist today? Austin and Detroit jumped out as important stops, and creating a route along the way, I’ve added Savannah, Miami, Marfa, Memphis, Nashville, Cincinnati, and Chicago, among others.
2) How does an iphone change a (photography) road trip? I will be using instagram to share my experience, using the hashtag #openskyopenroad, and blogging all the time on my website, emwatsonmedia.com/opensky. I hope to use instagram to stay in touch with people that I meet along the way.I got these cool business cards to leave with people we meet along the way! Made by moo with a very cool square format.]
Our hashtag, #openskyopenroad, comes partly from a poem by the poet Rumi, whom I’ve been reading in preparation for my colloquium. This poem, called “Cry Out in Your Weakness,” is a reminder that you should be open to all opportunities, particularly when you are in need of assistance. One particular line stood out to me: “Let the sky open under your feet.” The spirit of this poem seemed to fit with how I hope to live this road trip. While we have a pretty solid plan, we will stay open to whatever the road has in store along the way.
Follow me on instagram at @emwatsonmedia to see more! I leave August 3rd.