Woody Packard

Words + Pictures


In the immediate presence of these structures it is hard to take everything in at one glance—or one exposure—for the scale of these roads is way beyond the scale of a pedestrian. The images are made from multiple frames stitched together to produce a wide panoramic view. It is not a perfect process. Its artifacts include the bending of linear subjects to match one perspective to another, and the difficulty in reconciling, in one image, parts that have been taken at different times. Overall though, this is the only way I have found to give the sense of scale you have when you are surrounded by so much steel and concrete. Even in all of their wear and tear they are magnificent up close—the circuitry of our business, routing one strand of traffic to another without any apparent awareness by drivers of those of us walking nearby.

Even though, or more likely because, these structures are not built for pedestrians, they provide an unexpected sanctuary for those traveling by foot. The chain-link fences and No Trespassing signs only make these places more attractive for those looking for a public place to go unnoticed. Tucked up under these bridges are the temporary dwellings of the homeless, who sometimes amass large nests of possessions only to abandon them when they move on. One morning I came across a fresh bouquet of roses and a bag of candy on top of a mound in the middle of Rochester’s Can of Worms, one of the busiest intersections in the city and oddly, a perfectly private spot for what I took to be an adolescent rendezvous. When I came back through in the afternoon the flowers and candy were gone.
  The fact that these spaces are not meant to be viewed closely makes them havens for both growth and decay. Initially cleared for construction, vegetation goes through its annual cycle unimpeded by the other roadside customs of pruning and mowing. Ponds fill with the growth of cattails just as naturally as concrete is stained by corroding structural elements. Along the road and at the base of embankments are the detritus of travel gone wrong—not just hub caps, headlights, and tires, but a fender from a tractor trailer, a car door, an alternator the size of a watermelon, or earth that is blackened by fire.

close notes—back to pictures

I-590 at I-390

I-590 at I-390 - 2090925-106-2

I-590 at I-390

~ 2090925-106-2

I-590 South as it merges into I-390 South at Brighton Park.