These Pictures Will Change Your Definition of Road Tripping

In Boondock, photographer Andrew Waits captures images of a mobile life.

By Matthew Halverson April 28, 2015

Earlier this decade photographer and frequent Seattle Met contributor Andrew Waits traveled around the western United States, snapping shots of travelers who—either by choice or by necessity—live in or depend greatly on their vehicle. The finished product of that multiyear project, Boondock, will be on display starting tonight (6–10pm) at the Glass Box Gallery. The exhibit runs April 28–May 3.

To preview Boondock, we chatted with Waits to get the behind-the-scenes stories for six of the photos.

Brian Gifford
Quartzsite, Arizona, 2013
Brian I met for the first time through a website called Cheap RV Living. And now twice a year he goes to a meetup called the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. Whoever is around can come and stay however long they want. Usually it goes for about a week or two weeks. I think he was from Denver, actually, and he was planning on doing this with his girlfriend, but somewhere along the way they separated. So he was up there by himself.

Kristen and Adam
Slab City, California, 2012
They were from Portland, and they were young. And as the story says, they’d come down maybe a year before and met Leonard, who was working on Salvation Mountain [in Southern California]. They were just really inspired by it and decided that they were going to come down and look after it because he had moved to San Diego and was put in a nursing home. So they helped to start this nonprofit to look after Salvation Mountain. We actually had mutual friends that lived in Seattle, which was totally random.

Laurie Theodorou
Quartzsite, Arizona, 2013
Laurie was part of a group that was traveling around Arizona and New Mexico, meeting different people along the way. They would travel for a little while, and then people would break off. We had a nice conversation in her trailer, and she had her guitar and was talking about her music. I asked her to play a song, and she went ahead and did that. If you google her, you’ll come up with some of her videos.

Big Oak Flat, California, 2012
Pam falls into the category of people who weren’t necessarily living in their vehicle but definitely relied on that vehicle for their livelihood. She had a little business called Tie-Dyed Jerky, and she sold jerky and tie-dyed shirts. I’m not sure how that got connected. I think she was working in an office in San Francisco years ago when a friend invited her to go camping—she’d never camped—and she came out to Big Oak Flat and ended up falling in love with it.

Steve and Martha Parks
Seattle, 2013
They had a school bus, and they were right where the Fremont Fair is. My friend sent me a picture of it and told me where it was, because he knew I was working on this project. So I ended up driving out there and waiting to see if I saw them. I didn’t, so I left a note on their window. They called me, so I went back out and we hung out and talked and took a few photos. They were really nice. I remember her being very shy. Not that she was uncomfortable with the conversation. She was just uncomfortable talking, period.

Shaver Lake, California, 2012
He told me that he was part of this group that goes up to Washington state and looks for Sasquatch. He goes by himself sometimes, and he says he saw it once. I remember it being a poignant story and kind of beautiful: how it had these graceful strides and the flowing hair, and how he wanted to see it again. He didn’t want to become famous. He didn’t even care to tell anyone. He just wanted to see this thing again.

Andrew Waits: Boondock
Apr 28–May 3, Glass Box Gallery

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