Images from ‘the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll roadtrip’, The Ghosts of Route 66, will be on display at Gallery 40 this weekend. The exhibition is the outcome of a five-week pilgrimage taken by Brightonian photographers Suzanne Rolfe and Melita Dennett earlier this year, during which they covered the entire 2,400 mile stretch from Los Angeles to Chicago on the 90th anniversary of America’s “Mother Road”.
Route 66 was the journey taken by poor Oklahoma farmers fleeing the catastrophe of the dustbowl in the 1930s, immortalised in Steinbeck’s book The Grapes of Wrath and the songs of Woodie Guthrie, only to find themselves pariahs in the “promised land” of California. The road achieved legendary status in the affluent 1950s when towns and motels sprung up to cater for the postwar adventurers looking for their kicks on Route 66. But the building of a freeway from the late 1980s took the passing traffic away, and now it’s just the ghosts of that past who haunt much of the route.