13 February 2008

William Schmidt on Kerouac's road: People in places

In 1975, after graduating from college, I set out to discover Kerouac's road. With only my camera as a companion, I travelled through America for three months. I hitchhiked and took Greyhound buses, camped, stayed in hostels and missions and with whomever invited me. It was a great adventure.

William Schimdt's self portrait in the bus.

When I ran out of money, I returned home and had to get a job. I continued to photograph for a while, but eventually put my camera away. The photographs and negatives were put into a box and stored at my mother's house. When she moved twenty-five years later, she threw the box away. All that remains are some fading proof sheets which I have scanned. Everything else is gone but the memories.

The photos fascinate me for a number of reasons. They seem ironic now, both intimate and distant. Though the quality of the images is marred, their subjects and subjectivity present what Maria Kroenenberg calls "a vision felt", an "illustration of mood." Life's great paradox is that one both becomes in and is destroyed by time. In time's twisted logic, gaining is losing. We are, by and large, who we remember ourselves to be, but memory is infamously unreliable.

My memory of what occurred when I made these pictures has been shaped by the events that have followed. I may only recall, not retreat into this past. Like these photographs, the memories of that time are veiled, mysterious, and, perhaps, even beginning to attain the semblance of myth. "I was there," I tell myself. There is evidence. The photos represent a time of innocence and exist now only in cyberspace, a series of zeros and ones, intangible but sensible, an X-Ray of a spirit.

Bachelard says that we remember people in places. When we see faces we can't recall, we say that we can't place them. Here are some portraits I made on that trip. People in places.

F blog was honoured by William and offered possibility of showing his unique, personal, historical already pictures. Thank you William, this is very special for us.
We will show William Schmidt's works in several posts.
Stay tune/Marcin

More of William's works you may find on his blog.


Ulf said...

I love this story Bill. Many thanks for sharing it...in some ways it makes me think of a man I came across living in Buenos Aires - he collects photos that he finds in trash cans and in the street. You will find him on the F Blog."Fotos encontradas"
Your photos are indeed very moody - somebody said that pictures need 30 years or so to grow on you - like a fine wine.
Many thanks and I am looking forward to see more!

Aleksandr Veledzimovich said...


It is my other link.

It great Bill I show this story to my girl friend - Kate.

I love this TIME.

TIME when we changes...

Somebody to LOVE......

joanna said...

absolutely fascinating story and pictures. i'm tuned for more :)

frankpetronio said...

Great stuff - thanks

beatriz said...

beautiful story and concept to scan and print the images from contact sheets. The "rescued" photos are excellent.

laan said...


TammyPatrice said...

I love these images. They are classic and timeless. And you do look like Jesus.