Thursday, June 23, 2016

"The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside" by Ryann Ford, Book #Review! #TheLastStop

The Last Stop does far more than capture the remarkable, effective design of our nation’s road stops. It preserves a moment in time that is quickly fading, a unique period in the American travel experience when the journey was just as important as the destination. It’s clear these modest structures did far more than provide picnic tables, they shaped our collective experience of golden-age car travel across the vast United States.

While driving along historic Route 66 on a solo trip from California to Austin, Texas, photographer Ryann Ford was struck by a recurring sight: a series of humble, solitary rest stops built for motorists during the golden age of car travel. Intrigued by the mock adobe dwellings in New Mexico and faux oil rigs in Texas, Ms. Ford began to investigate the story behind these quirky pieces of mid-century modern architecture.

Using Google Earth, Ms. Ford set out on a quest to document these locales. It was a race against time. With countless commercial options at nearly every highway exit, and states needing to cut expenses, many felt that these old rest stops were no longer necessary, and many were closed and scheduled for demolition. Ms. Ford was determined to capture as many as she could while they were still in existence, doing whatever she needed to get the shot. Whether ducking under fences, stepping over fallen trees, or hiking through the snow, Ford found a way to get the shot.

Collected together for The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside (powerHouse Books, Summer 2016), Ford’s photographs take us on a memorable ride across the United States, visiting 50 different locales along the way. Included in the book are rest stops in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, Mississippi, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. With The Last Stop, Ford preserves a moment in the American travel experience.

About Ryann Ford, the Author:
Raised in a Southern California mountain town so small it didn’t even have a stoplight, Ryann Ford had the freedom to explore and observe from a young age. At age 12, she took her first photo using her father’s old Pentax Spotmatic from Vietnam; at age 18 she enrolled in the renowned Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography. Living in Los Angeles, Ryann’s creative work began to focus toward two subjects: artifacts of the abandoned American desert, and the fading landscape of California’s Salton Sea. In 2007, Ryann packed up her things and made the move to Austin, Texas, taking Route 66 to get there. Along the way, she discovered her next photography subject – the rest stop – a project that culminated in The Last Stop series. This work has been covered by outlets such as the New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and NPR. Ryann is currently a commercial photographer who shoots regularly for such clients as Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and Texas Monthly. Her meticulously composed architectural and interior photography has become an industry favorite, and it is this style – clean and thoughtful – that continues to inform her fine art today.

Sierra Blanca, Texas

My Review:
The Last Stop is an amazing book with beautiful photos by Ryann Ford. The book includes a brief history about rest stops and many photographs like the one above and the ones below. Some of the earliest rest stops were built around 1910! If your planning to take a road trip this summer or fall, plan to check out some of these rest stops, and others, because you never know when and if they might be gone someday.

This book would be great for those who like collecting books on travel, people who like to travel, photographs, coffee table books and more! I know that my dad would enjoy it! I can't wait to share this book with our friends the next time they come to visit.

Flower Mound, Texas

Purchase a copy of "The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside" on amazon or at your local book store!

Disclosure: I received a copy of "The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside" by Ryann Ford in exchange for my post. No other compensation was exchanged or received. Photographs by Ryann Ford, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books.


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