Between October 14 and November 12 2008 we travelled from Los Angeles to New York – almost 7500 miles.
Our aim was to capture a portrait of a deeply disrupted country on the eve of Barrack Obama’s historical win of the presidential election. Two pending wars, the financial crisis, the struggle for a decent health-care and a politically divided country were some of the looming issues that were hardly to negate.
Still there was also an undenyable sense of hope in the air that one of the most corrupt and irresponsible administrations in the history of the United States would be voted off soon.
Dozens of different stories came across our way: boarded-up homes in Phoenix, a lonely Superman-boy in Tennessee, a former NBA-stadium full of believers, 1300 extracted teeth at a medical expedition in a high school, the aftermath of hurricane Ike in Galveston, a gathering of 250 000 people at Grant Park in Chicago, a day at a loan-shop in Youngstown, a broken family whose son was almost killed by a roadside-bomb in Iraq, or an old Vietnam war veteran fighting for gay-rights from his appartment in Queens, New York.
Evolved from a project linked to a very particular space of time, it became a documentary on America’s backyard – the endless space between the two coastal areas that allure almost all public attention. The elections were our reason to start – but not the only theme. It turned out to be one story among others.
These individual stories form a loose mesh of today’s America. This narrative is from the outset incomplete and subjective. Additional we also collected different items we found on our way through the country: old tin-types, postcards, tickets, stereoviews and historical documents. With the help of this material we tried to pinpoint a transient history.
This combination adds different layers and points to the reasons why we photographed especially these places and people. A huge amount of invisible history is registered in the images we made during our journey. The found counterparts are able to reveal some of these hidden traces. They tell about the water-wars, Las Vegas’ past as an atomic test site, the prosperous times in Youngstown, or the devasting hurricane that hit galveston a century before Ike…