Rick Schatzberg

Twenty Two North


Twenty Two North MapI imagine NY22 to be a river made of asphalt and time.

Route 22 is a mostly rural, two-lane highway that runs from the Bronx to the Canadian border, all within New York State. With my camera, I am exploring its entire length largely within these boundaries: all the towns and countryside closer to NY22 than to Route 9 to its west or Route 7 to its east are in my scope. From this perspective, the north-south corridor created by this path is analogous to a watershed.

A man can’t step into the same river twice,” Heraclitus wrote. Both the river and the man are different from moment to moment. This aphorism has perhaps achieved the status of cliché, but as a photographer trying to discover or reveal something about an ordinary place with a substantial history, the thought stays with me and is strangely motivational. I return over and over again to various places along my route, sometimes with a plan, other times driving randomly, looking only to be surprised.

We have to be taught to see here, because here is everywhere, related to everywhere else,” said poet William Carlos Williams. This modest landscape not far from home is as good a place to learn to see as anywhere, to recognize what is exceptional about the seemingly ordinary, and to understand a place on a map as process rather than fact.