Clean Rooms, Low Rates is a collaborative, cross-genre exploration of the American motel. In 2011 and 2012 I hitchhiked, drove and walked 22,000 miles back and forth across the USA, photographing, among other things, empty motel rooms.
Each of the images in the series was taken after a day of driving, sometimes 10 to 12 hours worth. They always felt like some strange continuation of the journey, rather than a rest stop. There was this sense of perpetual motion in the space. I would lie there in the dark and could feel the road still stretching out before me. It was a bit like when you get off a boat and the land seems to sway for a while, I could always feel this sense of moving forward and beyond, so the images never really felt like interiors. They were landscapes — a continuation of the open road.
Standing at the intersection of economics, aesthetics, poetry, documentation, and fiction, Clean Rooms, Low Rates explores an alienated and anti-domestic landscape, full of oddities and banalities, shedding light on the problematic character of seemingly ordinary things. By playfully and collaboratively immersing ourselves in a private-turned-public space, especially one as aesthetically charged and culturally specific as a motel room, we allow ourselves to experience and examine the myth of the American dream. Inspired by the history of motels in some of the greatest stories of all time, writer Jeff Parker provided fictional texts to go with a selection of these photographs.
— Brendan Barry, Devon, United Kingdom
Two years after a neighbor clearcut a portion of the forest my wife and I live in, a fierce windstorm roared across the open clearcut and ripped apart, uprooted and toppled 120 of our trees. A few of them hit our house.
Foresters call it a catastrophic windthrow.
After repairing our home and re-planting our land, I began to photograph the tree farms that surround us. There are three distinct phases, beginning with the clearcut. Next is the burn phase where limbs are piled high and burned in the fall. In late winter and early spring new seedlings are planted.
In forty years, when the Douglas firs just begin to feel like a forest, they are felled and the cycle begins again.
From certain vistas all three phases can be viewed in a rolling mosaic of industrial efficiency and productivity.
— David Paul Bayles, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
My work investigates the landscape of Southern California and the American Southwest through a variety of perspectives and for a variety of reasons.
These images are from an ongoing series called Terraform. Inspired by Percy Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias” and a personal interest in Roman history, the photos in this series offer more contemporary depictions of mankind’s relentless hubris and evidence of nature fighting against it.
While we are capable of altering the landscape in long-lasting and unforgivable ways – either for practical or esthetic reasons – the land is always in a state of change, and inevitably reclaims the evidence of our tampering.
— Chris Bashaw, Los Angeles, California