Back in the 1980s, I went to art school, and I along with all of the other illustration majors were required to take a minor course in photography. We had to shoot the photos as well as process the negatives and make the prints. I don’t recall what the particulars of the class assignments were although I can tell from looking at the negatives which were the assignments and which ones were shot just to finish off a roll. The shots to finish a roll are a lot more interesting. While my fellow students mostly resided and shot their photographs in the vibrant metropolis of Philadelphia, I lived and did most of my shooting in and around Westville, NJ.
There are so many of these shots that I think that this may be a project shot, but I’m not sure what the school project may have been. I was wandering the highways and byways in and around Westville toting a Sears-branded Pentax camera and waiting for inspiration to strike me. Being a sophomore, I thought that’s how art was supposed to work. Inspiration was supposed to strike me as if Zeus was chucking thunderbolts at my head. Sadly, I felt no electricity from Mount Olympus so I walked for a few miles snapping off shots and trying to kill off a 36-exposure roll of Pan-X.
Fortunately I did take these shots, and I wished my meager art school budget would have allowed me to shoot a lot more. They are nothing to rave about as far as art or aesthetics are concerned, but they did capture a time and place that are long gone — relics lodged in a dusty corner of memory.
As I said, I’m not sure what I was after in these shots. I was a big horror movie fan back when I shot these back in the early 1980s, and as I look at them, I think of Janet Leigh’s doomed journey in the movie Psycho. Deserted highways, sad greasy spoons and monochromatic film may have put me in a Hitchcock frame of mind.