"American Photographs" by Graham Miller

July 29, 2014

American Photographs by Australian photographer Graham Miller is the result of a road trip through the Southwest of America in the summer of 2009. The mythology of the American West is embedded in our consciousness. Big skies, windswept desert plains, Wild West towns, and Route 66. It’s a cinematic landscape, intricately tied to images recalled from TV shows, films, photographs and novels that have lived in our minds since our childhood. This series of images represents an intersection between fables of the West and the reality encountered along the road. Through the windscreen of our silver V6 Ford Fusion, we saw little of the wilderness that Timothy O’Sullivan encountered on his Great Survey of the region in the 1870’s and only fragments of Robert Frank’s lonely gas stations, bars and luncheonettes from the 1950’s. The little towns along Route 66 are faded and dilapidated- broken up and bypassed by four lane highways and replaced by intermittent gatherings of Taco Bells, McDonalds, Wendy’s and Starbucks. Settlers once traveled here in search of the possibilities and fantasies of the American Dream. Now big tourists with digital cameras dominate the landscape, jostling into Ansel Adams’ vistas and Stephen Shore streetscapes. Despite everything, the sublime beauty of the landscape survives, and the West continues its seduction with the promise of what lies beyond the horizon.