Hitchhike.  Photographs by Henry Wessel.


Photographs by Henry Wessel.
Steidl, Gottingen, Germany, 2019. In English. 80 pp., 36 black-and-white illustrations, 11½x11¾".

Publisher's Description

In the fall of 1960 Henry Wessel (1942–2018) left his family home in New Jersey to attend college in Central Pennsylvania. At the time, Wessel had never been further west than Philadelphia. On Friday afternoons, to offset the daily classroom cadence, Wessel would pack a knapsack and hitchhike west. Once Saturday afternoon had ended, he would cross the highway and hitchhike back east, hoping to arrive in time for class on Monday morning. Though Wessel would not begin to photograph until years later, these early forays west planted seeds of discovery that proved fruitful for decades to come.
Hitchhike is a westward journey from the grassy farmlands in the Midwest to the wide, open, dusty landscape further west. This precisely arranged sequence of photos draws from Wessel’s 50-year archive. The images describe barns, gas stations, traveling salesmen, dogs asleep in truck beds, families eating in diners and open highways, all lit by bright western light, almost physical in its presence.

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