Ryann Ford, The Last Stop

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Ryann Ford, The Last Stop

Ryann Ford takes us on a road trip, documenting fading icons of the golden age of American car travel...

‘This was the rest stop that inspired the project,’ explains photographer Ryann Ford of the above image from Flower Mound, Texas. ‘As I researched rest stops to see what was beyond the Austin area, I was excited to find a photo of this one, and then shocked to read it would soon be demolished. The next weekend I drove four hours north to shoot it, and sure enough, it was demolished a few weeks later.’

Ryann Ford, The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside

Which neatly encapsulates the essence behind this project — inspired by Route 66 and the golden age of American road trips, Ford became fixated with the fading story of the humble rest stop; the Americana drenched icons of an increasingly forgotten era. New Mexico to Nebraska, Illinois to Iowa, Montana to Mississippi … Ford dropped in on over 75 stops in her nationwide quest to document a deteriorating chapter in one of America’s greatest stories.

Raised in a tiny Southern California mountain town, Ford’s work has always been touched with the sensibility of exploration and melancholy; artefacts of the abandoned American desert, and the fading landscape of California’s Salton Sea two of her first passion projects. Featured in publications as esteemed as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Ford’s fine art practice (Ryann also works as a commercial architecture and interiors photographer) is deeply rooted in Americana, its style informed by her meticulously composed commercial work.

Ryann Ford’s The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books, is available now.   

@powerHouseBooks

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico This is by far my favourite location. The picnic tables there are iconic, straight out of the ’60s, and the landscape is like no place else on earth. It was a hot summer day at sunset when we were shooting, and a thunderstorm had just rolled through, so hardly anyone was around. You couldn’t take a bad picture in this place.

Winona, Texas – I 20

Winona, Texas – I 20

Austin, Nevada – U.S. 50

Austin, Nevada – U.S. 50

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona This is one of the last picnic tables in Monument Valley. There were many more, but the rest were demolished so that a hotel overlooking the valley could be built. This table is located in a pull-off, offering a great view of “The Mittens” rock formations in the background.

Galveston, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Abiquiu, New Mexico – U.S. 84

Abiquiu, New Mexico – U.S. 84

Bonneville Salt Flats – Wendover, Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats – Wendover, Utah This was another favorite to shoot.  Since beginning the project years ago, this had been at the top of my list to shoot.  Once I found out that the book was a go, I made a special trip to Utah just to shoot this stop.  The salt flats were magical.  This has got to be one of the most incredible places in the country.

Las Cruces, New Mexico – I 10

Las Cruces, New Mexico – I 10
Photographs by Ryann Ford, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books.

Sonora, Texas – I-10

Sonora, Texas – I-10

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