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Road trips as a child provided the opportunity for my curiosity to explore the wonders of different places and landscapes. Frequent trips made the unknown into the known, like the drive up Interstate 81 to visit family in Southwest Virginia with the rolling hills, farms, and even the small, single-runway airport adjacent to the highway in Rural Retreat. While some parts of the drive became familiar, others remain memorable for their mystery, like Exit 94 outside Pulaski, Virginia, which peels off sharply into dense woods, or the eight-mile stretch where an interstate mash-up had us going both north and south at the same time. Road trips made me fantasize about the life of long-haul truckers, always on the road discovering new places and views.

The open road likewise looms large in the American psyche. Eisenhower’s 1956 formation of the Interstate Highway System not only forever altered the American landscape, but it also resulted in a landscape unique to the highway. The transformation of the landscape by the interstate system is particularly notable here in Southeast Michigan where the automobile has had a significant impact on the region.

This series of images examines the landscapes, unnatural or unintentional, that exist within the confines of Interstate Highway System exit ramps and interchanges. The diversity of these landscapes, from utilitarian forms to dense natural growth, speaks to both the impact of the highway system on the land, and the resilience of the natural world just beyond the expansive line of pavement. Regardless of the appearance, these places seem largely an afterthought, if not entirely neglected. With hard asphalt lines of demarcation, the natural resiliance of the spaces renders an often gritty beauty.