Arts July 10, 2008
The Long Way Home
Idaho Highway Stories, Vol. 1, A Photographic Journey

Idaho is just another outlined territory in a nation connected by roads. Across the miles and mountains outside our perspectives, along these same roads, are the places many Americans live. Set in the high deserts of Southern, Central and Eastern Idaho, “Idaho Highway Stories” is a three-part photo essay documenting life along U.S. Routes 93, 75 and 20.

For an outsider, not much is familiar here, and this remote slice of the United States is filled with communities that characterize the distinctions among urban and rural society. There are people, like Marvin Smith of Moore, Idaho, who are tough and weathered, like the land their families have worked for generations. There are places like Arco, Idaho, filled with a mixture of hope and despair, lives moving toward new starts and dead ends alike. In many isolated towns along 93, 75 and 20, leisure is often found in outdoor recreation, religion and family, while younger generations learn to find a balance of past and present values.

“Idaho Highway Stories” is not about the physical exploration of the Idaho landscape, but the lifestyles and emotions that define it. Focusing on the intricate moments of daily life, these photographs provide an intimate look at the compelling characters and moments in the backyards of this unusual part of America.

Working Man: Les Cameron, welder, grandfather, Bellevue, Idaho.

 

Fisher Man: Pete Wood, a guide for Silver Creek Outfitters, raises his trophy catch at a carp-fishing tournament at the Blackfoot Reservoir just east of Highway 20 and Idaho Falls. Weighing in at more than 30 pounds, the carp was a record-setting catch at the event.

 

Woman & Child: Julie Brown stands in Silver Creek with her daughter, McKenzie, while watching the rest of her children play in a swimming hole just off Highway 20. Brown lives in the small community of Gannett, Idaho, below the town of Bellevue near Highway 75.

 

Old Benz Abandoned Mercedes Benz, Highway 20, near Butte City and Arco, Idaho.

 

Family Man: Ruperto Gamino rests in a pickup bed along Highway 20 near Picabo, Idaho, after a long day of work. Gamino travels from Mexico to Idaho each spring for six months to work as a ranch hand for the Picabo Livestock Company.

 

Weathered & Wise: Marvin Smith takes a rest in his kitchen after a long morning of chores on his ranch in Moore, Idaho. Moore is a small community located between the towns of Mackay and Arco along Highway 93 in the Lost River Valley. Smith and his brother, Dale, are among many families in the valley who have lived and worked the land their whole lives.

 

Let’er Buck: Contestants await the first rounds of competition at the rodeo grounds in Hailey, Idaho. Each year during the 4th of July holiday, cowboys, cowgirls and spectators gather for a few nights of fun just feet off Highway 75, a few miles south of million-dollar homes and the Sun Valley resort.

 

On The Lam: Sheep cause a roadblock for fly fishermen searching for backcountry fishing on the outskirts of Idaho Falls near Highway 20.

 

 

This article appears in the Summer 2009 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.