Boulevard of Brokendown Hotels

Categories: Culture
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Tristan Spinski

Click here to see the motels on U.S. 1.

Traveling north through and out of Miami on U.S. 1, I see aged motels sagging under the weight of "progress." They weather and deteriorate, like the people that built them. They might have been painted to match the flowers in their gardens, or the owner's wife's favorite color, not according to a set of corporate specifications. And while they now wilt in cramped nooks between strip malls and fast food restaurants, they once advertised paradise.

I set out to photograph elements of these motels with my Holga, a medium format film camera defined by its simplicity. The camera is completely manual. You can't focus it. It has two exposure settings. Basically you point, shoot, and pray. With four rolls of film, I drove north from the Miami New Times office in downtown Miami up U.S. 1, photographing until l I ran out of film.

These motels are of a time when your mother sewed your prom dress; when the bikini was scandalous. A generation, that while flawed, was saturated with personality. -- Tristan Spinski

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