March 10th, 2021
Anderson Moran, a native New Yorker from Jackson Heights, Queens, is a self-taught photographer whose previous work is centered around vintage cars, cityscapes and portraits of locals in his motherland of the Domincan Republic. This past November, Anderson took a solo road trip with his Maymiya 7ii and fifty rolls of Portra 400. His transcending images of country, cars and cattle provide the viewer with a more tranquil and quiet view of the American landscape during a global pandemic.
I decided to really get into photography between 2013 and 2014. I was inspired by my cousin who owned a Nikon D3100 at the time. I was able to save up some money to purchase my own Nikon d3100 and from there I began my journey. I didn’t get into film until about two years later after I learned how to meter and shoot manual. I purchased a Canon A1 as my first 35mm film camera and embarked on my first trip with it in 2018 when I flew to Cuba. Not knowing much outside of the basics, I came back a week later and had my film processed and scanned. My love for photography went to the next level after receiving my photos back. Film has changed my life and overall view on everything.
What inspired you to make a road trip across the U.S?
My main inspiration for taking this road trip cross country was the curiosity of reaching Area 51 and the surrounding old mining towns. I've always dreamed about driving towards the West through the desert and up through the mountain ranges to witness the beautiful landscape this country has to offer. The pandemic really pushed me towards making a quick decision and because being stuck in my apartment for almost a full year was a difficult task. I felt the need to get away from the city life.
What was it like traveling alone during a pandemic? Were there any challenges along the way?
Driving alone during a pandemic is an experience within itself. You have to be aware of everything, everyone, and just rely on yourself a lot. But with that I feel you develop more appreciation and more self awareness. One positive of traveling alone during a pandemic was the fact that there were way less people on the road; that helped for arriving at my destinations faster. The biggest challenge I would say is knowing your driving limit. Since you are by yourself you can risk the chance of falling asleep behind the wheel. But if you know your limits of when to stop and stretch, when you’ve driven enough for the day, then you can bypass that challenge. Don’t over do it!
I like how a lot of your images transcend time; they look like they could have been shot in the 80s-90s. There seems to be no recollection of the pandemic; was this intentional shooting or just how it felt out West?
I was driving through a lot of country land and I didn't really encounter too many people aside from when I was grabbing a bite, filling up gas, or in popular towns (like Jackson Wyoming, which was surprisingly packed with people vacationing since it was Thanksgiving weekend). My main focus with regards to my work for this particular trip was to capture more landscapes which involved shooting scenic roads, mountain ranges, old cars, animals, barns and country life. Looking back I do regret not capturing more pictures of the people during the pandemic. I got a few, however I definitely feel like I should have shot more to grasp a better understanding of what life is like for others during a pandemic. But you live and you learn, next trip I will make sure to take all of that into consideration when deciding what to shoot.
Retro cars seem to be a theme in this body of work and along with your previous work; what is your connection to old cars?
Ahh my love for old cars. To be honest I don't know exactly where my love for vintage cars stemmed from but I absolutely love how NYC looked during the late 70s to 90s. From the buildings to the clothes people wore, and to something as simple as the old “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signs. Something about classics and the things that were part of people's everyday lives just resonate with me so much.
What advice would you give someone who was interested in traveling solo on a photo road trip?
The best advice I would give to somebody who is interested in driving solo cross-country is to know and understand the rules for driving in each state. Each state has different laws about which lane is for what, what speed you should be going, etc. So I always say, no matter what state/city/town/village you are in, try to drive like you are from there.
Also be aware of wildlife. I encountered so many wild deer and herds of cows crossing the road. So just always be aware of everything!
Who are some of your inspirations?
Throughout the years I’ve gained so much inspiration from several photographers. The ones whoose work I keep going back to are Joel Meyerowitz. His work dating back to the 60s and 70s is something I always aspire to be; I love his colors. Joseph Rodríguez is probably my favorite black & white photographer. His work is out of this world! And I just really appreciate photojournalist Lynsey Addario's work. All of her pictures tell stories, she has a book called "Of Love & War" a book on the Afghan and Iraq war in early 2000s. All of the work in that book is amazing and is extremely inspiring since that is what I want to become. A photojournalist.