© 2012 Western Doughty.

Route 66: Room #116

I am always influenced by contrasts and the inherently conflicting elements of class, sexuality, religion, family, so a Route 66 shoot was the natural evolution of my thinking. We have this romanticized idea of Route 66 and all that it has embodied throughout the years: trip adventure, excitement, heading West. The reality is, the motel rooms along this famed highway, then and now, are way stations, emotional waiting rooms.

To capture the intimacy of what has unfolded in any Route 66 motel room over the years, I lived in one for the duration of the shoot, leaving the room available to anyone who wanted to come by, any time of night or day. So the element of adventure and excitement lay in not knowing what was going to unfold, giving little direction and just capturing the intimacy of people’s real experiences. I had no idea what was going to transpire, and in some cases, neither did the subjects.

The textures of the motel room: the bed, scuffed walls, a popcorn ceiling, combined with the human elements of skin, body, fabrics, provided all materials I was looking for. They were perfect for my study in contrasts.