A handful of the world’s best photographers are stuck in traffic just north of Phoenix in an RV they’ve named Uncle Jackson. The two-week trek through the American Southwest has them in a time crunch. Because of the traffic, they may have to forego Bagdad.
- Beyond the Weekly
The unexpected lag, however, is part of the road trip norm for Postcards From America, which has Magnum photographers Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Paolo Pellegrin and Mikhael Subotzky capturing people and culture as they roll in and out of towns along a designated route.
They tackle different themes at brief stops—the idea of home in San Antonio and water issues in El Paso. Next stop: Las Vegas, where they’ll focus on the sex industry.
Normally this group of friends is off in various corners of the world, working longer durations on projects—conflicts in the Middle East, prison life in South Africa, America’s fringe. “We’re wildly experimenting in a collaborative project,” Meiselas says. “Obviously, we’re dipping in. We’re not diving in as we all do.”
Followers track their journey through their images on their Tumblr blog—a Tucson girl in her barrio home, a clown in Bisbee, band members sharing the same hotel in Las Cruces and a man sleeping in his car in Del Rio, Texas. Pre-orders for the project’s limited-edition books pay for the gas. A collection of five postcards has already sold out, not surprising considering the award-winning photographers’ works are part of museum collections all over the world.
Meiselas says this is the first of several collaborative journeys the Magnum photographers will take over the next year. On this trip each photographer has focused on specific themes of interest. “It’s kind of riffing off the idea of a band,” she says. “Everyone has a different role, but we jam together.”
The traffic breaks and eventually they arrive in Las Vegas, where they’ll concentrate on photographing life in the sex industry before heading to Fresno to focus on teens. The trip ends with a pop-up exhibit May 26-28 at the Starline Social Club in Oakland, Calif.