No, I did not take this picture. I wish!
That title is Promised Land.
I wasn’t sure what the name of the project would be. I figured that I would need a title when I begin to apply for photography grants in the hopes of funding the trip. A few titles that passed through my mind over the past week or so included Where the Day Takes You (not bad) and The Road Goes On Forever More (no need for a Tolkien Estate lawsuit). The obviously perfect title would be On the Road, but that appears to already be in use by another book.
Promised Land came to me this morning as I sat in my office working away on non-photo project stuff. Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City was stuck in my head while I was en route to work this morning so when I got to the office, I put my iPod on and gave The Boss’ classic a spin. The iPod shuffled around and on came another Springsteen classic, The Promised Land, from his landmark 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. Springsteen has stated that the song is about how we honor the community and the place we came from. While my project isn’t about the community and place that I came from (that being Cape Cod), I am hoping that my project will capture and reflect the communities and places that America consists of, both yesterday and today.
Choosing a project title inspired by a Springsteen song also has a more personal meaning to me and that involves my father. After dedicating my first photography book to a great man who is sadly no longer with us, Ron Steffensmeier, I decided to dedicate my next project to my father. I also decided that as the project is going to be dedicated to my dad, it is going to be big and it was going to be an important one (my father is currently waging battle against cancer and this may be my last chance to honor him while he is still alive). A cross-country documentation would certainly fit the bill. Using a title inspired by a song from one of his all-time favorite musicians made perfect sense as well. I just needed to hear a song about Atlantic City first.
Will the title stay? Who knows. But it certainly sounds -and feels- right. Time will tell.
In the meantime, here’s a little music greatness to end your night with.