Rich Frishman Photography
Ghosts of Segregation American Splendor This Land Technique Videos


The evidence of our nation's priorities, passions and personality is all around us: our quaint neighborhoods and congested highways, colorful boutiques and collapsing inner cities, towering skyscrapers and sprawling parking lots. All human landscape has cultural meaning. Because we rarely consider our constructions as evidence of our priorities, beliefs and desires, the testimony our landscape tells is perhaps more honest than anything we might intentionally present. Our built environment is society's autobiography writ large.

American Splendor photographically explores our curious culture as expressed by our vernacular landscape. I imagine myself an archaeologist (or anthropologist) carefully cataloguing the fragments of a lost civilization. These images, all real and authentic, generally appear to be single moments, perhaps a thousandth of a second in duration. They are not.

Reality is more complex than a single moment can reveal. We each create our own personal tapestries of memory by assembling a myriad of individual threads: the smell of French fries, the sound of conversation, the sight of dappled colors. Similarly, I create my images from many discrete photographs, weaving them together to form a single image. The complexity of these composites is not always obvious.

Each of these photographs is constructed of between dozens and hundreds of photographs. The resulting images are designed to be printed on a monumental scale to heighten the immersive quality and reveal otherwise hidden details. Some of these scenes are shot over an afternoon. Some are shot over several hours, some over several years.

Iowa State Fairgrounds; Des Moines, Iowa World Overcomers Church; Memphis, Tennessee Devils Tower; Crook County, Wyoming Midway Drive-In; Quitaque, Texas Indian Trading Post; Calumet, Oklahoma Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame; Hayward, Wisconsin Pink Trailer along the Salton Sea Ruby Montana's 1950s Modern motel, The Coral Sands; Palm Springs, California Mario's Italian Lemonade; Chicago, Illinois Donut King II; Inglewood, California Prada Marfa; Valentine, Texas Michigan City, Indiana Mary Lou's Milk Bottle and Ferguson's Fountain Cafe along Garland Avenue; Spokane, Washington Leaning Tower of Niles; Niles, Illinois Edna Theatre; Edna, Texas Longaberger Basket Company; Newark, Ohio US Route 163; Monument Valley, Utah 2011 Mercantile Store; Pie Town, New Mexico Golden Driller; Tulsa, Oklahoma Jolly Green Giant; Blue Earth, Minnesota Big Fish Restaurant along US Highway 2; Bena, Minnesota Salvation Mountain; Niland, California Carhenge; Alliance, Nebraska 2014 Roy's Motel and Cafe along US Route 66; Amboy, California Blue Swallow Motel; Tucumcari, New Mexico Redland Drive-In; Lufkin, Texas The Corn Palace; Mitchell, South Dakota Tee Pee Curios; Tucumcari, New Mexico Hiawatha, World's Tallest and Largest Indian; along US 2 in Ironwood, Michigan "Forever Marilyn" by Seward Johnson; Palm Springs, California Las Vegas, Nevada 2013 Fun City Motel; Las Vegas, Nevada The Midway Bar; Crosby, Minnesota Coca Cola mural; Nacogdoches, Texas Allen's Filling Station; Commerce, Oklahoma Checkerboard building; Barstow, California Colorful Fence; Albuquerque, New Mexico Bay City, Michigan 2014 Lavaca, Arkansas 2014 Grain elevators east of Nashua near Frazer Lake along US Route 2 in eastern Montana Holbrook, Arizona 2014 Route 66; Oatman, Arizona 2014 Zesto's; Alliance, Nebraska 2014