Photographer TJ Tambellini’s new series sees him focus on the roads of America and adapt his style to suit the duskier tones of small town life. “Zionic is the result of a slow moving road trip I took earlier this year, travelling through Utah’s Dixie, the southwest region that encloses a handful of National Parks and monuments, a few of which are in jeopardy under this ridiculous administration,” explains TJ.
For the project, the photographer was keen to capture the moments and people that truly encapsulate these kinds of places: “Mostly, I’m attracted to the full-timers, the ones that live a few blocks off the main drag. Locals that cater to day-hikers and family vacations, owners of mum-and-pop restaurants and outdoor gear shops, fortunate retirees,” he explains.
“I have to admit though, the series features false isolations. There is a cost to living, or even visiting, these often congested communities. It’s rare to get an intimate moment in, as it is with other National Park hubs. Early mornings are the only time to catch stillness, up with the first-out hikers. You can’t beat the light then either.” Featured in the series are interesting landscape shots of wooden-panelled houses and mountainous backdrops mixed together with still life studies of electric hobs and plastic chairs.
While close crops and unusual perspectives feature throughout, there’s a contrast to the projects we’ve featured of TJ’s in the past. “The majority of my other work is a result of living in Los Angeles, pushing vivid palettes. With this trip I intentionally wanted to shift my approach and evolve my style, purposely changing gear and preferred film,” explains TJ. “My observational decisions are consistent with my past series, but with Zionic I sought out earthier tones and softer light. Both of which I avoid in LA.”
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