At seven years old, my parents drove us across the country from Pennsylvania to California along the fabled Route 66. State after state and mile after mile I was fascinated by the scenes whizzing past the car window. I could feel the shifting of the car as we overtook giant trucks, marveled at the Main Streets of small towns, encountered strange people to my young eyes and stared out into the vast empty landscapes. Thirty-two years later in 1990, I began to photograph the interstate highways of America.
Along the way, I met American long haul truckers whose characteristics intersected between the heroic individual, the spiritual searcher and the romantic cowboy.
They travel over the roads, connecting towns to cities often confronting danger, loneliness, inclement weather and federal regulations. They leave their family and friends for weeks or months at a time to perform a vital function for the economic prosperity of this country. My portraits of these unseen drivers are a testament to the working class.
The uses of my project are sociological, historical and aesthetic. My goal is to go back on the road to develop and widen the work I have already done. To find the funding to bring it to a conclusion as a solo exhibition and book. These funds would be applied to travel, purchasing film, developing, making prints, framing, book design and publisher.
Listen to an interview with Michael Ruggiero about creating long-term projects like this one on the SPM Podcast.