By christian harkness
Photo book
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christian harkness

I started driving the 150 miles or so between Cedar Key and Tallahassee, Florida in the mid 1980's and noticed that one stretch of the four lane road had the [then] futuristic designation of 19/98 while another part of it was designated 19/27. For some reason I named the whole stretch 1998  in my mind, although the scenery evoked much more a feeling of the past than the future. Along the road were defunct gas stations, falling down motels, and decrepit buildings that had filled multiple functions over the years.

Once a main tourist conduit to south Florida, this highway had been eclipsed by the two interstates that now run the length of Florida, and sucked all the business their way. Left were struggling businesses and small towns that had seen better days.

Although I drove this highway quite frequently, I never found the time to stop and photograph the buildings and features that fascinated and intrigued me so much. So, I started photographing them as I drove past. At first, I was dissatisfied with the results. They were too blurry and gritty, my always-dirty windshield caused all manners of distortions and spots on them, and the horizon line was crocked most of the time. Then I realized that this represented what I was feeling driving through this area on a hot and steamy August afternoon, without air-conditioning in the car, much more so than what would have resulted if I had made traditional  and more formal black & white film photographs.