ANYWHERE BUT MOTEL 6

Digital collages of Downriver motels done using black and white film photographs taken on a Hasselblad, and scans from found 80's Playboys and National Geographics. 

 

Motels, you see them everywhere now. Old, run down, dirty, they span all across the U.S. Named as a contraction for “Motor Hotels”, motels began popping up in the 1920s, as highway systems started to develop, and cars grew in popularity and availability. After World War 2, motels became more distinct in their style, and would integrate large neon signs or pop culture into the designs, many of which still stand today. As motels really became popular in the 1960s, they then began to decline again while large competitive chain hotels popped up around the nation. Today, motels remain unpopular, and their lots remain empty. They span all across urban and suburban freeways and main roads, and sit as relics of the past, as well as hot spots for criminal activity. They become “offices” for drug sales, sex trafficking, runaway spouses, etc. Anybody who visits a motel, can now feel a sense of history and unease, as even the residents of motels seem to have been stuck in the past. 
On every single commute I make, I pass these ghosts, unknowing of the history that remains within. Thousands of people could have come through and stayed in each one, why did they stay? How long did they stay? Did they steal a pen from the bedside stand? Did they leave a cigarette burn in the mattress? Did they leave bloodstains in the bathtub? Did they ever leave the motel, dead or alive? My goal for this project is to capture these old-fashioned motels in their current state, in a way that makes the photographs feel as old as the subjects themselves, by using a medium format Hasselblad camera. Then I plan to create a digital collage from those images, as well as found imagery to illustrate stories of what events could have actually happened at these motels, and what kind of people could have stayed there.

 

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