One day last May, five Magnum photographers and a writer piled into an RV dubbed “Uncle Jackson” in Austin, Texas, and embarked on a two-week, nearly 2,000-mile road trip to California. Their goal: to document both the Southwest and improvise ways to work collaboratively. So for Alec Soth, the metaphor for the trip he undertook with photographers Paolo Pellegrin, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, and Mikhael Subotzky, and writer Ginger Strand was both “road trip” and “band tour.”
Describing the resulting project, Postcards from America, Soth says, “If we function like a band, and go off on little jam sessions of two or three and sort of communicate the spirit of that collaboration: that’s what this project is for me.”
The results include solo investigations of topics such as gun culture and sex trafficking and collaborations that include Subotzky and Goldberg shooting the same place from two perspectives, or Soth and Strand sharing a tale about hydro infrastucture that nearly ended up with Soth gored by an African antelope.
But the endeavor also fits well into the well-established genre of the road trip, which is where the project gets its title.
“The reason I like ‘postcards,’” says Soth, “is that it’s a thing you send while traveling to communicate that you’re traveling. It’s as much about the writing on the back, saying we did this, as it is about the waterfall that you photographed.”
Here’s a first look at the project.