Edward Ruscha

Twentysix Gasoline Stations

Edward Ruscha was born in Nebraska in 1937. He was a commercial artist trained at the Chouinard Art Institute. He worked as a graphic artist in an advertising agency.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations documents the landscape between Los Angeles and Oklahoma along Route 66 by capturing Twentysix Gasoline stations and presenting them as a book. The book is rather rare now and costs between £477 and £3200 needless to say I have not purchased a copy, however, you can view the entire book online on the Tate website:


Edward Ruscha’s work is a typology of Gas stations along Route 66 it is a similar concept to my idea for assignment 5. His work on Gas stations got me thinking about all the different types of buildings in this country and trying to link them by type. I thought about office blocks and tower blocks etc, the concept of commercial premises like the Gas stations seems like a good idea. This leads me neatly to the  Fast food restaurants and linking it as described previously to the slow Americanisation of our landscape.

The change to an American strip mall design mentality is in keeping with modern pop culture and a desire for all things American that can be seen all over the world from the Chinese appetite for Blue Jeans to the Russian craving for American Hamburgers. However, it flys in the face of the idea of all things quintessentially English like tea on the lawn, long walks in the countryside, the hedgerow, and rolling hills and dales. It seems that the onset of fast food is changing more than our diet and unhealthy lifestyle it is also fundamentally terraforming England into New Pennsylvania.

Thirty Four Parking Lots

Edward Ruschers next work is entitled thirty-four parking lots, he took to the sky with a friend and a pilot in a helicopter and was struck by the number of parking lots he saw. In one day they flew over and shot all thirty-four parking lots for this book.

One thing I don’t understand is the way he inconsistently leaves blank pages and often puts two images on a double spread then does not use the back of the next page giving the book a bit of a feel of an old photo album where some of the photographs have fallen out. Unable to question him about this, I suppose I will never have an answer.

Thirty-four parking lots is a work that has a lot of synergy with me, taken from a helicopter it is in some ways similar to the drone photography that I do commercially, though it would take a lot of planning and permissions to take images of 34 carparks with modern drone laws in place.

Nine Swimming Pools

The last of Edward Ruschea’s photo books was called nine swimming pools and featured – you guessed it nine swimming pools, this book was however, in colour unlike his other two books.