Intercity bus travel is a utilitarian enterprise. Fares are cheap, terminals are widespread, routes are numerous and reservations aren't required. North America's largest intercity bus transportation company reports that the average ticket price is $48, nearly 60% of passengers travel less than 450 miles and 42% of passengers are between the ages of 18 and 34. Additionally, it's reported that one in three passengers earn more than $35,000 per year which leads one to presume that the other two thirds earn less. When you consider the facts-- that passengers are typically young, cash strapped and in need of quick travel-- combined with the reality that bus travel is cramped, frustrating and far from glamorous, it explains why bus terminals are typically located in seedy areas.
Bus terminals are therefore peculiar places. They're mass transit hubs, often open 24/7, that nearly 25 million people pass through each year. However, these terminals primarily service low income passengers, are rarely gentrified and are full of dubious loiterers.
Against the aging backdrop of dingy terminals, thousands of cranky, tired and 'in transit' people-- each with their own story and unique endpoint destination-- travel and intersect with one another each day.
Fascinated by this, Ben Pobjoy chose to travel 7000 miles of America, Mexico and Canada in 2007 on a nonstop bus ride from Montreal to Los Angeles and back.
The objective? Photograph bus terminals, bus riders and everything else in between. To achieve this, Pobjoy armed himself with nothing more than a notebook and a bag of cameras, and spent over 160 hours on the bus crossing through 20 States and Provinces visiting close to 80 bus terminals in as many cities.
Land of America is a collection of photographs that were the outcome of Pobjoy's trip. The photos, meant to document mass transit hubs and the peculiar people that pass through them, ultimately capture the spectrum of America that Pobjoy was subjected to, and confronted with.
Land of America was first exhibited as a photo installation in July of 2008 at The Emporium Gallery in Montreal (click here to see a virtual tour of the installation). The exhibition, along with the supplementary book of the same name, received critical acclaim and was profiled in the Montreal Mirror and on both Vice and Urban Outfitters' websites.
Midwestern Sign. Terre Haute, IL. 2007.
Day Rider. Unknown, PA. 2007.
Desert Garage. Pecos, TX. 2007.
Asleep, Flag Field. Unknown, TN. 2007.
Intersection. King of Prussia, PA. 2007.
Waiting Area. Abilene, TX. 2007.
Jenny. Quartzsville, AZ. 2007.
9/11 Poster. New York City, NY. 2007.
Pedestrians (diptych). Newark, NJ, 2007.
Flag Through Glass. Unknown, NJ. 2007.
Thugging. East Los Angeles, CA. 2007.
Skid Row. Los Angeles, CA. 2007.
Walking. Tijuana, Mexico. 2007.
Visitation at Prison. Los Angeles, CA. 2007.
Station Walls (diptych). Tulsa, OK & Oklahoma City, OK. 2007.
Workers Resting. Philadelphia, PA. 2007.
Abandoned Fuel Pumps. Pecos, TX. 2007.
Rules. Amarillo, TX. 2007.
Daniel. Oklahoma City, OK. 2007.
Station Lockers. Amarillo, TX. 2007.
Lot Stop. Quartzsville, AZ. 2007.
Skate Rats. Hollywood, CA. 2007.
Asleep, Unwatched Child. Amarillo, TX. 2007.
The Life. Los Angeles, CA. 2007.
Discarded Bear. Hollywood, CA. 2007.