Photographer:Cristian Ordóñez
Camera:Mamiya 7
Film: Medium Format 6x7” Negative Kodak Portra 400 Film

Views From a North American Passage

8 states, 5 provinces, and 7500 miles traveled as one photographer aims to escape the rhythm of daily life

*words and photography by Cristian Ordoñez

In June 2016, I started a road trip from Toronto to the west coast with the intention of experiencing a variety of locations while detaching from the rhythm of daily life—but mostly I just wanted to go back to the mountains and enjoy the Pacific Ocean again.

During three weeks on the road I drove for more than 7,500 miles, passing through Ontario, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and back to Ontario. Sometimes it's hard to explain how you lose the perception of time while on such a trip, but while driving for so long, one tends to get into a unique repetitive mode.

On the road the landscape changes fast, sometimes faster than you realize, and every place surprises for its unique environments, culture, and differences. The energy and connection you create is never an expected, and your own way of reacting impacts the decisions you make and how you look at the land.

I use photography to document my response to the places I encounter. With a neutral view, the idea of belonging and memory has always been in my work. I search for details that connect to memories and to find new perspectives through places, geography, and time. Using film, I allow myself to slow down, observe, and learn. Sometimes this process feels like meditation, and here, being in the outdoors helped me to connect even more to what inspired this trip in the first place.

Cristian Ordóñez a Chilean-born, Toronto-based photographer and designer with a special interest in shooting medium format film. See more of his work here, and follow him on Instagram

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