Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Southwest Road Trip 2012, Part 2: Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch, which sits just west of Amarillo, Texas, is one of the most iconic and most visited sites along old Route 66. It's funky Americana. It's an interactive display. Cadillac Ranch screams everything that The Main Street of America was all about.
Sunrise At Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
Despite its association with Route 66, Cadillac Ranch was first erected well after the infamous highway was made irrelevant by Interstate 40. Because the site epitomizes The Mother Road so well, it has become one of the highlights of the old highway.
Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
What is Cadillac Ranch? Technically, it's 10 old cars partially buried in the ground hood-first. Actually, it is an interactive modern art display with an historic twist. The project was started in 1974 by three local artists. The Cadillac automobiles show the evolution (birth to death) of the infamous tail-fin, with examples from 1949 through 1963.
Cadillac - Amarillo, Texas
What is interesting is that this is an interactive exhibit. You are encouraged to leave your mark on the cars. Graffiti is not just allowed, it's what you are supposed to do. Because of this, Cadillac Ranch changes each day--it will be a little different with each visit.
Cars in a Row - Amarillo, Texas
The downside to the graffiti is the trash. Despite a provided dumpster nearby, people seem to think that this is their personal trash can. It's too bad that some folks are too lazy to clean up after themselves--really, it's a shame.
Graffiti Tool - Amarillo, Texas
I was surprised at just how crowded it was on the morning I visited. There were about a dozen people photographing the cars at sunrise. It's not a large scene, so staying out of everyone's way while also getting the shots I wanted was a challenge.
R.I.P Abuelita - Amarillo, Texas
Another challenge was finding my own vision of Cadillac Ranch. It's been photographed from pretty much every perspective imaginable, and I didn't want to create run-of-the-mill images. This might have been an easier task if I had done more research prior to my arrival, I could have understood better exactly what I was going to find. Since I didn't do that research, I had to think quickly as everything was unfolding before me. Unfortunately, I feel that I left some good images behind. Lesson learned, I hope. Maybe I'll get another chance at this scene in the not-too-distant future.
Robot Boy - Amarillo, Texas
Overall, though, I'm happy with the results. I used a Pentax K-30 DSLR to photograph the scene, and I think it handled the situation well. The photographs here do a good job of artistically conveying the location. They show Cadillac Ranch through my eyes.
Morning at Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
If you've never been to Cadillac Ranch, I hope that these images will inspire you to experience it for yourself. If you have been, I hope they bring back good memories of an unusual slice of Americana. 

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