David Bryan (aka @filminthefreezer) spent a year traveling around the American West, and Twelve Thousand Miles: One Year in the American West is the result.

Cities, country roads, forests, the ocean, mountain vistas, deserts, small and ghost towns, parades, county fairs, a bit of street photography, Twelve Thousand Miles pretty much has it all, kindof everything you might imagine shooting in an average year, travelling around the Western US states, with a few forays into Canada, Hawaii, and Arizona.

To be honest, I’m a little bit jealous. I suppose I could do something similar in Texas and the South West, if I took the time (and a tent, and got permission from my darling, adorable wife). Sure, I wouldn’t get the same sorts of ocean views, but mountains, deserts, small towns, cities, and similar, we have in spades. I’m just not sure I would be able to get started, let alone see it through to a book.

What’s particular interest: this project was apparently conceived of as a sort of set of experiments.. In the introduction, Bryan writes

It was a year of deliberate practice, making mistakes and correcting them. Finding old cameras, learning how to use them or first, how to fix them. Shooting new types of film and discovering what made them unique. Working with photo labs, scanning and caring for negatives, and finally learning about bookmaking—binding, printers, paper and ink. This book is the conclusion of many experiments.

All this experimentation leads to a little bit of unevenness in the flow. There are a few images that stick out for having strange vignetting, way-off color, or strange errors in the emulsion; others are double exposed, or have winding errors. Most are well exposed, with reasonable color, so it’s a little bit jarring to hit one with some oddness. Luckily, the strangeness happens often enough to make for some syncopation, some blue notes, maybe, rather than just randomly-inserted oddness.

Included with every book is a little zine “Experiments and Outcomes: A Year on Film,” in which Bryan discusses the things he tried and what he learned. There’s a list of all the cameras, lenses, and films he used, metering and exposure, developing and scanning, and printing and binding, and there’s some good stuff in there.


Overall, I’d give Twelve Thousand Miles 3.5 stars.

Sadly, Twelve Thousand Miles is sold out at time of writing, but follow @filminthefreezer on Instagram, and visit David Bryan’s website and blog for more.

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