Pictura Gallery

Joshua Dudley Greer

Somewhere Along the Line

Here in Indiana, we claim our identity as the place you pass through on the Interstate. The actual state motto is “The Crossroads of America.” From this point on the map, it may be difficult to imagine anything less photographically intriguing than the Highway. Yet Joshua Dudley Greer’s new project on this very topic offers unexpected depth and complexity.

How might we best explore the current state of America? For Greer, the answer was to travel and observe the whole vast and varied thing from the unromanticized vantage of the Interstate. Greer’s book, Somewhere Along the Line, depicts the stratified layers of highways upon highways, and more often, the life around and underneath them. He brings our awareness to the in-between spaces, the overlooked places and persons en route to the destination. He calls attention to the bits of red, white, and blue, tossed out with our fast food wrappers along the country-wide expanse of grey. He works to divert our eyes from the monotonous yellow line, to examine the realities of the monstrous system that carries us around the country.

The project is clearly a long and careful study. Every image is a product of patience and of Greer’s observant intuition. These slow studies are in tension with the fast-paced and transient nature of life around the road. Some of the scenes are immediate photographic marvels, like a gaping hole in the highway, or a flaming car captured with a large format camera. Other scenes appear banal at first, but that’s a ruse; they’re bursting with meaning. There is a surprise in nearly every photograph. Greer offers a rich reward for our time and attention, breaking up the sameness of the highway with stories of people just trying to make a life.

Somewhere Along the Line opens up my thinking on a landscape so familiar, I’d simply ceased to see it. Greer has something important to show us, about what we choose to overlook and about inequality in America.

From 2011 to 2017 I traveled over 100,000 miles by car, focusing my camera on the massive network of superhighways that has become ubiquitous throughout the United States. Whether located within an urban environment or leading out to the last remnants of wilderness, these roadways have been designed to suppress any distinguishing characteristics of place and instead construct a familiar and uniform system of functional spaces built for mobility and productivity.

Rather than moving quickly through these spaces however, I have made the decision to slowly and deliberately dwell within them, looking for unforeseen moments of humor, pathos and humanity. My photographs look at the road as a stage where narratives play out and opposing forces often collide. The boundaries that line these landscapes, whether real or imagined, are examined by looking at the separations between public and private space, privilege and need, the individual and the collective, and the countervailing ideas of home and escape. The resulting compilation of photographs depicts the state of America’s infrastructure as a cultural indicator of its economic, social and environmental circumstances.

Joshua Dudley Greer (b. 1980 Hazleton, PA) is a photographer based in Atlanta, GA where he teaches photography at Georgia State University. His work has appeared in The California Sunday Magazine, PDN, Le Monde, The Georgia Review, GUP Magazine and Oxford American and is in the permanent collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the New York Public Library, the Do Good Fund and the High Museum of Art.

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