So after 2028 miles traveled in two weeks I finished my solo road trip. After a few days back in LA I left last night for London. The trip as a whole was great, though I now think maybe if you are dealing with grief sending yourself into isolation is perhaps not the best thing to do. You end up thinking, or rather over thinking, about things too much. Without much human interactions along the way, I tended to run over a lot of things in my mind. Things about my mum’s last year I could have done differently, things I regretted, or mistakes I felt I made. I thought for days about the day she died, running over constantly minute by minute of the last hours I spent with her, and then watching her die in my arms. Maybe it is because I do not want to forget this, or maybe it’s because I still feel guilty, I’m not sure.
This whole trip I felt I was on some kind of mission, a mission for what I really do not know. But I felt like I was trying to get somewhere or find something, but it never happened. I think I felt going to LA, back to where my mum was brought up, I would feel closer to her, or would discover more about her, I did not. LA is such a strange city, and it has changed enormously since the 1950’s when she was there. I expected to land and start shooting a story about my mum, when really now the whole place has nothing related to her. I tried going round her old neighbourhood, her old high school, but didn’t see the point in taking pictures of the old buildings she once frequented, what would this tell me about her? Nothing. So I left LA.
I first traveled up the coast with friends to San Francisco. I was reading my mum’s first husband Barry Miles’ biography about the 60’s and it talks a lot about his friendships with the Beat poets, and his time with them in the US. It was nice to read about their history while being in the places at the same time.
After San Fransisco I went back to LA then hired a car and went out on my own across three states: California, Nevada & Arizona. The country is amazing, such huge open expansion of land, something we simply have nothing like in this country. One day I was in Death Valley, walking on salt plains in the baking sun, then a few hours later I was surrounded my snow on the mountains. Then I would be driving through a huge rain storm in the middle of no where in the desert, then sunbathing around a motel swimming an hour later. It was so varied.
I decided to shoot mainly film this trip. I felt so fed up with digital photography. I had so much more fun with my old Bronica, it felt like proper photography. Though I have not processed the films yet, they may all come out underexposed and out of focus, will wait and see…
Tomorrow I am off to the Lake District with only my Bronica. It couldn’t be a more different place to the ones I’ve photographed over the last month, but this time I will be with lots of friends!