Plenty of photographers have documented old motels along Route 66 in the past 20 years.
However, a new exhibit, “Route 66 Motels” at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, California, shows images more than 40 years old. The images predate even Quinta Scott’s valuable “Along Route 66” images from the late 1970s through the 1980s.
The show will be on display through Feb. 10. La Jolla is north of San Diego and about a two-hour drive from the western end of Route 66 in Santa Monica.
The photographer is John Schott, now a professor of Cinema and Media Studies at Carleton College in Minnesota.
More about the “Route 66 Motels” show from a news release by the gallery:
In the summer of 1973, John Schott drove Route 66 from the Midwest to California and back, sleeping in his pick-up truck and photographing with an 8 x 10 inch Deardorf view camera. Among his subjects were the motels situated along this expanse of highway.
Route 66 Motels will present a key set of vintage prints that formed Schott’s series of topographic views of these small motels that punctuate this highway landscape, both in daylight and under the glow of artificial illumination. In this collection of vernacular forms, Schott describes a particular architectural structure, within a specific era, while subtly reminding his viewers that the road and its adjacent dwellings are part of what defines the landscape.
Many of Schott’s images from “Route 66 Motels” may be seen in a slideshow here.
In an email, Schott said he has about 80 images of Route 66 motels from that era in his archive.
Schott in 2014 published a book about his Route 66 motel images titled “Route 66: 1973-1974.” It will set you back nearly $300.
(Hat tip to Art Daily; John Schott images from the “Route 66 Motels” collection courtesy of the Joseph Bellows Gallery)