It was Halloween, 2016. My bus pulled into Brownsville, a hot, characterless town on the US-México border. In the coach station, the air conditioning kept people cool. The festoons of ghoulish décor kept things surreal. There would be more strangeness to come…
I’m a British photographer part based in México. I’d felt that critical change was brewing in the USA. So I decided to travel there to witness the tail end of the Presidential Election campaign but crucially the aftermath of the Election Day on 8th November. How would the population react to either the first female President or the first TV reality star President?
I would travel 8052 miles by car, covering more than 13 American states whilst experiencing a genuinely historic moment in US history. I took photographs and kept a journal. Importantly, the Election story became the backdrop to my journey without always being centre stage.
My one intention was to reach the White House in Washington DC, thus symbolically sharing the same objective as both the Presidential candidates. Otherwise my route and every encounter throughout the journey from beginning to end, was unscheduled and accidental.
Soon I found myself at Brownsville’s Galaxy Bowling Center and talking with Angie Peña who said:
“Trump is straight. He is a businessman and makes things grow. Even before the emails Hillary was corrupt. So as a businessperson Trump gets my support. Trump is a genius. From up there, to our level, to help us, to make us great again? Sure! ”
Just over a month later I returned to that same coach terminal in Brownsville. The Halloween décor had been replaced with a Christmas theme and the air conditioning had been switched to heat mode as the weather had deteriorated, and keeping people warm. But that was not the only change. This was already a very different country to the one I had arrived in only weeks before.
A book of this work is being produced with approximately 150 images and 20,000 words of text including interviews with people he encountered during the journey. The working title is: God Bless America. The presidential election November 2016. A photographic journey through a divided USA.
Work in progress