New! On the Road with Dorothea Lange August 27 2015

Hit the highway with Dorothea Lange and call to mind the familiar comforts of roadside respites with Cabins on US 99 and Road House on US 99.

Cabins on US 99 by Dorothea Lange || Road House on US 99 by Dorothea Lange
8"x8" ($24) | 11"x11" ($60) | 16"x16" ($240)  | 20"x20" ($600)

There's something so American about the open road: the idea of freedom, the call to escape the life you're in. But with any long journey comes a need for roadside respite, and today we're delivering two pit stops with a rustic, folksy charm. The quick-fix auto camp Cabins on US 99 and the Texan-owned Road House on US 99 feature striking hand-painted lettering, making them feel both retro and timeless. Like the road itself, the Americana of the roadside endures. 

It was on the road that Dorothea Lange found her calling. She began her career as a studio portraitist in San Francisco but was drawn to documentary photography as the Great Depression hit. A few years after joining the FSA, Lange found herself on a 42-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 99 between Tulare and Fresno, California, photographing the migrant workers that came through and the road-ruled world they found themselves in.

The roadside industry was new, but thriving. Stands like Cabins on US 99 and Road House on US 99 began to propagate as more people found themselves on the road. As novelist James Agee wrote in 1934: “...along the Great American Road, the Great American Roadside sprang up prodigally as morning mushrooms, and completed a circle that will whirl for pleasure and for profit as long as the American blood and the American car are so happily married.”

These shacks, though bare-bones, served as oases in an otherwise barren landscape. It was a small but crucial comfort to know that even while living off the road, you could get your car fixed, a hot chili bean meal in your belly, and a roof over your head for the night. With Cabins on US 99 and Road House on US 99, Lange struck an interesting balance, conveying both the dismal conditions of the migrant worker's life on the road, and the joy of finding a piece of civilization after a long and lonesome journey.

 

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200