Oklahoma City to Las Vegas, USA
25th November – 8th December
Once epitomising the American Dream, Route 66 now holds cult status with travellers and rock and roll music lovers. It is also a photographer’s paradise.
The ‘Mother Road’ was one of the most famous highways in America from 1926 until the mid 1970´s. With almost two and a half thousand miles of ‘blacktop’ linking Chicago, Illinois with Los Angeles, California, it became a national icon in the post war years. As people returned home from the Second World War and world economies recovered it was boom time in the USA. Americans became a nation of travellers, and Route 66 was the chosen route for many. Restaurants and motels, gas stations and drive-in theatres were the backdrop for a road populated by thousands of fine motor vehicles.
In 1956 the Interstate Highway Act signalled the beginning of the end for historic Route 66. But the efforts of several enthusiasts have enabled many parts of the road to be restored and bought back into being. Whilst the route itself is a shadow of its former self, its legend lives on. The exuberant architecture and other symbols which helped make the Route so famous are now in differing states of repair, making them ideal photographic subjects.
Rock & roll provides the soundtrack of the Route, starring The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen and The Eagles (to name but a few). The backdrop is provided by prairies like a flat-earther's fevered dream, towering cloudscapes and almost deserted towns.
We will drive the western half of '66, from Oklahoma City to the California border. The whole route is far too long to do justice to photographically in just two weeks. The western half contains most of the best photographic sites for lovers of Americana, a heady mix of chrome, neon, ruins and old cars.
Each day will be packed with interesting, memorable and bizarre sites: highlights include;
A dawn photography session of a 66 foot tall neon Coke bottle in crossover light... followed by a classic American breakfast in a diner with chrome and red leatherette adorned booths.
The neon encrusted Conoco Towers, one of the the most archetypical buildings on the whole Route and great for dawn and dusk photography.
The bizarre Cadillac Ranch: ten vehicles covered in neon graffiti and embedded hood first in a field outside Amarillo.
Two nights' stay at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari (the most original of the early twentieth century motels on the Route), the source of endless photographic opportunities and possibly my favourite location.
A lot filled with over 400 classic cars and lorries in various, intriguing and photogenic states of disrepair.
The Art Nouveau style Route 66 Diner in Albuquerque, great for dinner and a chance to imitate Edward Hopper...
A night at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, where each room is a stucco wigwam with a classic car parked outside.
It has been a few years since I last drove '66... I'm really looking forward to seeing the changes, finding new sites and introducing the biggest helping of Americana imaginable to another group of photographers.
Read my article to find out more about the history of The Mother Road.
All transport during workshop
Accommodation & breakfasts
Photo tuition from David Ward
Lunches, dinners, beverages & other personal purchases
£4,250 for single occupancy
£800 fee payable at time of booking