These are views both plain and magnificent of alleys and courtyards, city streets and suburban wasteland, mountains and oceans and nothing in particular, hidden behind what I call curtains and you call drapes.
The Parkway Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri
We spent a month on US roads, driving 7.000 kilometres through 18 states. Before leaving Norway back in June, I was adamant that I would produce one series of photographs, besides all the other pictures I took along the way, that would span the entire journey, while at the same time adhering to a set of limitations. Having never before been to the States, I still had this almost romantic fascination for motels of the cheaper variety. For a long time I thought about doing a series of motel exteriors. But we weren’t staying in cheap motels exclusively, some hotels were, well, not exactly fancy, but they wouldn’t lend themselves to such a series very well. And one of my self-imposed limitations – decided upon before even deciding the subject matter – was that I would be photographing all instances of whatever I finally chose, i.e. the façade of every place where we spent the night, in case I went for that idea. So I didn’t.
Hotel 91, New York, New York
Instead I started thinking about doing it the other way around, photographing from the inside and out, shooting out the windows of whichever place we were staying at. But shooting through the windows didn’t work consistently either, for a variety of reasons. And going outside to photograph basically the same view meant losing the window frame as a frame of reference. Not to mention the trouble I’d have when the room was on the eighth floor. So I elected to stay inside. And closed the curtains.
Knights Inn, Niagara, Ontario
Throughout the journey I would thus shoot the curtain of every room we stayed the night in, from shitty Super8 motels and cheap Howard Johnsons to upmarket hotels in Chicago and charming B & Bs in Louisiana. So much did I obsess with the damn curtains that we at one point accidentally tried to check into a curtain store in Boone, NC.
Well, here are the curtains. What’s outside is pretty much left to your imagination.
Super8, Sarnia, Ontario
Howard Johnson, Battle Creek, Michigan
The Tremont, Chicago, Illinois
Hampton Inn, Memphis, Tennessee
Super8, North Jackson, Mississippi
Old Town Inn, New Orleans, Louisiana
Econo Lodge, Tallahassee, Florida
Days Inn, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Smoky Mountain Inn & Suites, Cherokee, North Carolina
Downtown Inn & Suites, Asheville, North Carolina
Fairfield Inn, Boone, North Carolina
Travelodge Bay Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Capitol Skyline Hotel, Washington DC
Courtyard Marriott, New Haven, Connecticut
Fairfield Inn & Suites, New York, New York
Suggested soundtrack: Low – The Curtain Hits The Cast. And remember: a curtain is just a superhero cape that has yet to fulfill its potential.
This is the tenth and final chapter of the American blog posts. Links to the other installments below.
America part nine: DC, Then Dave
America part eight: There Died A Myriad
America part seven point five: Beach And Moan
America part seven: Mountains (woo-hoo!)
America part six: The Place Where They Cried*
America part five: The Heroes of Gator-Aid
America part four: Some People. And Chicago
America part three: A Tale Of Three Cities
America part two: Viva Las Canada
America part one: New York Fact Sheet