Phil Taplin Photography
My photographic skills, I like to think, are at least partly inherited. My grandfather, Samuel Taplin, was a photographer in Hunter, New York.
My fascination with offbeat American landscapes and roadside artifacts is a little harder to explain. But the experience of growing up in the Washington suburbs -- a cultural landscape not well known for whimsy and diversity -- cannot be entirely overlooked.
As many others have done before me, I've found whimsy aplenty -- along with large doses of eccentricity, humor, and irony -- just down the road. It's there in the inventiveness of entrepreneurs from the 1930’s and 40's who built their roadside businesses in the shape of giant wigwams and coffee pots to attract passing motorists.
It's there in the creations of folk artists whose canvas is their car. And it's there in the cultural icons and juxtapositions used to promote products, places, and ideas in the beautiful light of the American Southwest.
There's a hidden power in these creations as well. Some, by virtue of their simplicity, remind us of an American innocence that has largely ceased to exist. Others take on a surreal beauty in their sometimes ironic relationship to the landscape in which they exist.