Closed Views

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

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

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

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

Super8, Sarnia, Ontario

Howard Johnson, Battle Creek, Michigan

Howard Johnson, Battle Creek, Michigan

The Tremont, Chicago, Illinois

The Tremont, Chicago, Illinois

Hampton Inn, Memphis, Tennessee

Hampton Inn, Memphis, Tennessee

Super8, North Jackson, Mississippi

Super8, North Jackson, Mississippi

Old Town Inn, New Orleans, Louisiana

Old Town Inn, New Orleans, Louisiana

Econo Lodge, Tallahassee, Florida

Econo Lodge, Tallahassee, Florida

Days Inn, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Days Inn, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Smoky Mountain Inn & Suites, Cherokee, North Carolina

Smoky Mountain Inn & Suites, Cherokee, North Carolina

Downtown Inn & Suites, Asheville, North Carolina

Downtown Inn & Suites, Asheville, North Carolina

Fairfield Inn, Boone, North Carolina

Fairfield Inn, Boone, North Carolina

Travelodge Bay Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Travelodge Bay Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Capitol Skyline Hotel, Washington DC

Capitol Skyline Hotel, Washington DC

Courtyard Marriott, New Haven, Connecticut

Courtyard Marriott, New Haven, Connecticut

Fairfield Inn & Suites, New York, New York

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

Beach And Moan

A long day of zombie literature at the beach takes its toll.

Virginia Beach #01. Catching crabs in Chesapeake Bay

Virginia Beach #01. Catching crabs in Chesapeake Bay

The last time my thighs saw proper sunlight was a December morning in 2010, on my first day off after covering the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. I was only supposed to take a morning stroll along the beach, then I happened to accidentally swim in the Caribbean Sea, drink beer and watch pelicans for six hours.

Virginia Beach #02. Fishing for croakers

Virginia Beach #02. Fishing for croakers

Yesterday I stumbled upon a beach yet again. Supposedly the longest pleasure beach in the world, our arrival at Virginia Beach’s oceanfront was not really that accidental. And for once we also decided to forgo all of downtown’s delights and just have a day at the beach. This allowed me to catch up on some zombie survivalist literature.

Speaking of World War Z – In a breakfast room.some hundred motels ago, I met a ten-year old kid who was really concerned about post-zombie-apocalypse-gun-legislation: “The government can’t ban guns if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, can they?” he kept asking his dad. His dad mumbled something incoherent while trying to get the waffle iron to work. But the kid, I’m sure, will grow up to be a fine and vigilant gun crazed paramilitary buff.

Of course – when the zombie holocaust really hits us, it’s not the zombies themselves that will kill most of us. No, most people will die from the lack of clean water supply, from dehydration from all the running. Yep, it’s the little things that will get us. Like forgetting to apply sunscreen to your legs.

Seems my thighs didn't do the transition from the gentleman's long trousers to shorter swim shorts quite as well as I had hoped.

Seems my thighs didn’t do the transition from the gentleman’s long trousers to shorter swim shorts quite as well as I had hoped.

This is America part seven point five. Read part seven here, part six here, part five here, part four here, part three here, part two here, part one here.