Roads by Marty Knapp

Marty Knapp writes about how he approaches photographing roads in his newsletter. The Klein household has several of Marty’s prints. If you drive through Point Reyes Station you must stop in his shop. He loves talking about photography so make sure you say hello.

I’d been thinking about how the inclusion of a road in a photograph affects the way I felt and what I thought about when I viewed the image. So, on a recent evening, I searched my catalog for photographs in which a road was a prominent feature of the composition. I found and created a new collection of a dozen examples. As I examined them more closely I discovered that they fell into two broad categories: one in which the road drew my eye into a clearly seen destination, the other where the road disappeared into parts unknown.

While making landscape photographs I look for a place to set my camera in order to represent an evocative view. I want my print to give the viewer a feeling that they are standing, virtually, where I had stood to make the photograph. I call this giving the viewer a place to stand.” When a road is also included in the composition, the viewer is not only offered a place to stand, but he/she is invited to enter deeper into the image.

As I continued looking at my road photographs I began to explore what I was feeling when I made these two kinds of images. In the case of the road leading to a clearly seen destination, the feeling was obvious: the road had drawn me to a view that exuded a sense of heightened beauty or grandeur. It was as if I had arrived at a captivating place and could now stop and gaze at the view. I felt happy…my spirt soared. The second type, where the road disappeared around a bend or over a hill, made me wonder what was beyond, what awaited me. I felt a sense of curiosity, mystery or longing. In both cases the inclusion of a road in the image invited me in–stimulating new feelings and thoughts.