These images formed part of a joint exhibition between Simon and Print-Maker/ Photographer Linda Nevill, which was held at the City of Wolverhampton's 'Lighthouse Media Centre' from November 2007 to January 2008

Route 66 and Beyond . . . .

Linda Nevill and Simon Larson are both fascinated by the classic, quirky and general decay of America’s ‘Mother Road’ and all its associated architecture, advertising hoardings, diners and common-place ephemera.

The ‘old road’ has romantic and musical connections through Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, Robert Frank’s controversial 1950s book ‘Les Americans’ and of course Bobby Troup's ‘Route 66’ made famous by the Rolling Stones.

In many respects, the road and its towns are still locked in the 1950s and 1960s. The Ford or Chevy pick-ups still travel the dusty route; diner’s with plastic seats and Formica benches are still key meeting places for the occasional trucker and tourist in the quiet towns and the Phillips 66 petrol stations offer gas and snacks to truckers and bikers. Of course the Harley riders, synonymous with the romantic notion of ‘doing’ Route 66 are now more likely to be 50-something executives fulfilling the dream they wished they’d done in the 1960s.

The backbone of America is littered with strange and amusing juxtapositions, ghost towns where inhabitants have ‘up and left’ as the new super-highways have taken the travelling business, fading and rusted motel and diner signs belying a former glory of an iconic road and the associated anticipation of families ‘driving west to the coast’ for their annual holiday, staying in wigwam motels along the way. 

Two photographers with an eye for capturing these juxtapositions and a faded past share their vision of America’s most historical route with the viewer. Perhaps these are eyes that reflect both humour of Americana along with a tinge of sadness that such a piece of history will disappear in the next twenty years unless the American population do something to save their only real piece of history.

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