I am a photographer, living outside of St. Louis, Missouri in Waterloo, Illinois. In June 2009 the University of Missouri Press will publish my fourth book, The Mississippi: a Visual Biography. The text to the 200 photographs details how glacial melt formed the Mississippi and its wetlands, what we have done to change the river and its wetlands, and how we are trying to restore it. The book was fifteen years in the photographing and writing between the Flood of 1993 and the Flood of 2008 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
There is tons of material that did not make the book, that will appear on this blog.
My first book was on The Eads Bridge across the Mississippi at St. Louis, published by the University of Missouri Press. Howard S. Miller wrote the text.
My second book Route 66: The Highway and its People, a history of the road. I worked with Susan Croce Kelly, who wrote the text for the book. When we started there was little published material on U.S. Highway 66. The story had never been told. We turned to oral history and based the text on interviews with the people who lived and worked on the road between 1926, when the road was established, and 1956, when the Interstate Highway Act was passed, which establish the highways that replaced the old road. These people who invented roadside tourism. The University of Oklahoma Press published the book in 1988 and the paperback edition the following year.
My third book is Along Route 66: The Architecture of America’s Highway, a great read-aloud guide book. Several years after Route 66 was published I traveled to Springfield, Missouri for a party. I was amazed by what Route 66 had wrought. There were Route 66 yard signs, Route 66 mailbox covers, Route 66 tee-shirts in the stores. The corker was a squashed penny for sale in a barbeque joint with a Route 66 highway sign stamped on it. Right then I realized there was cash money in the 2000 photographs of old motels and gas stations I made for the first book. I sat down and wrote Along Route 66. Like the first book, the University of Oklahoma Press published it, in 2000, and in paperback the following year.
Carry Along Route 66 with you when you do your Route 66 road trip. There are 200 images of buildings that serviced the roadside. The captions to the images detail how the original owners came to Route 66 and built their businesses, many during the depression.