"From old towns to abandoned motels, from gas stations to bars interiors, from neon signs to eroded old trucks, from fast food to fancy dinners, from panoramic lonely planes to close ups of old west relics, Americana Series exposes a parcel of  the American identity and its paradoxical realities."


My Americana Series

Daniel Azoulay

In the summer of 2009 I traveled by Car Cross Country. As thousand of miles after miles passed, I thought about how difficult it is to get behind the fleeting glimpses of landscapes and people. We can stop our journey, to explore and even live somewhere in order to get to know it better. But in the final analysis, all our experiences and encounters are transformed into memories of the places and people we have passed. Our imagination fills in the gaps and gives our memories life. These memories — assisted by our imagination — are what we understand as our knowledge of a place or person.

The project that I developed for this journey was aimed at trying to take some control over the ephemeral nature of travel, and specifically movement over far distances. To accomplish this I consistently photographed the landscapes and scenes that passed by during Drive journey from Miami to North Dakota to California a cross Contry, a series which resulted in thousands of photographs of places that I could only observe in moments when Driving. Imagination then became the key with which to unlock each captured moment, enabling the observation of that place or of those people fixed in time in that corner of the Americana.

The images were edited down to create a series called the Americana Series, which consists of a long, running series of images covering the distance from the beginning to the end of the journey. Most images in the series convey the sense that the viewer is standing in a single spot, observing. However, occasional glimpses of a reflection or a blurred image remind the viewer that the scenes are in fact being seen from a moving position.

Thus, the series exists both as a whole — an entire journey — and as individual parts, in that every single image creates a unique observation point, a unique experience, within an ever-changing landscape. The entire series thus allows the viewer to observe the journey at his or her own pace or even to stop and observe landscapes that had been but a fleeting moment during the original journey.