“Growing up in Europe, the United States is a constant presence in any child’s life: TV, movies, magazines”, André Terras Alexandre explains. Passionate about travels, this Portuguese photographer undertook, in October 2018, a two-week road trip in the American West. “Portugal is a small country, and the endless roads and overwhelming mountains of the United States can be intimidating for a person like me, but I always felt very close to them”, says the author of Familiar Wind.
For two weeks, André Terras Alexandre got to know the territory, he travelled experiencing the ever changing climatic conditions, eating at diners alongside the roads, and sleeping in cheap motels. “We crossed paths with a lot of people, the photographer tells us. We met a couple in their late-sixties at a bar in San Francisco that rode every year to the Grand Canyon and we spent some time listening to their long stories with admiration.”
To dive into the space
Though the author discovered the uproar of the American West’s largest cities – Los Angeles, San Fransisco or even San Diego – the wild landscapes caught his attention. “I find the essence of such cities too difficult to shoot”, he explains. The ancient and peaceful nature enabled him to relax and take the time to photograph. “Driving endlessly while Bill Callahan plays on the radio, then stop the car in the middle of the desert and shoot some Joshua trees… No rush. That’s my ideal way of photographing”, he adds. Accustomed to long journeys in unknown lands, André Terras Alexandre discovered a new way to tame a territory. “In fifteen days, we’ve crossed deserts, explored some huge cities, we’ve been up to the mountains and down to the shore”, he recalls.
An overwhelming experience that inspired him. Following hundreds of artists’ footsteps, those who were also seduced by the wild beauty of the American West, the photographer dove into the space. “I want my images to make you hear the coyotes at dawn, the country music on the radio… that was my goal, to capture such a multidimensional essence in one frame”, he adds. A sensory road trip at the heart of a landscapes anchored in our collective imagination.
© André Terras Alexandre