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Hello America

Meet Kristen Blanton, a photographer with one thing on her mind: adventure. Her 2014 journey is centered upon this – the realization of a dream of traveling across the US, photographing new and old friends along the way, and compiling this project into an analogue book.

The project, christened “Hello America,” will be funded entirely by their Kickstarter page (see here), and consists of Blanton and her travelers: her boyfriend Matt Jozwiak and newly weds Josh and Megan Stewart. The four plan to complete their project with a four-month nomadic road trip, living simply along the way.

Kristen and Matt answered a few of our questions about their trip below. Safe travels, friends!

1. Tell us about your love for film versus digital photography – when did it start? Why do you prefer film?

Matt: My love for film came from the pages of my mother's photo albums. I would spend untold nights looking through those albums reliving my childhood. The photographs gave me feeling that no digital rendition could surpass. A well developed film photograph has a certain realness - you experience the moment it was taken even if you weren't present, you hear the river or the laughter, you taste the sun. Digital has never done that for me. I want everyone, including my own children, to hone that realness. This is why I shoot film.

2. Give us an overview of the trip.

Kristen: We will be leaving from Austin on April 7th and head to Topeka Kansas. From there we head to Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. We will finish up the month of April in Arizona. As we move into March we will travel along Southern California's Highway 1, up to Oregon, Washington and Vancouver to meet our up with other fellow travelers "Our Wild Abandon." Then on to Montanta, Wyoming and cut across to Wisconsin. Then through Toronto up to New England. We should arrive in New York City around mid June. We will enjoy D.C., Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas during the summer swell and head south for the remainder. New Orleans will be our last stop before we wind right back up in Austin around August 1st.

3. Where did the inspiration for the idea behind “hello america” come from?

Kristen: Hello America has been years in the making. At 19 my desire for the road drummed into the soles of my feet. After graduating from University December 2012, I started calculating a way to get on the road and shoot the road with the people I love. It all came together this past summer when my dearest friend Megan got married to her beloved. I feel in love with Matt and our three person project became four. Hello America is very much a way of life. A constant desire to abandon creature comforts and to create a canon of work that accurately portrays this American life, our generation, in the year 2014.

4. How is this project different from some of your other past endeavors?

Matt: Hello America is a journey, an adventure, a mission, and our calling. Our individual endeavors and paths have all made an impact on who we are today, but it feels it has lead us all to this point. Our lives and experiences on the road are the pages for a story we want to share with the world, and in an analogue format in which we truly believe in.

5. What is your hope for the project once it is finished?

Kristen: When we are finished, the end result is a book. A pure analogue, bound and published photo essay book of the American road. Beyond the physical, we hope to continue travel. To keep in contact with the buds we've become kindred to when on the road, to highlight other talented young ones across America through our blog, to put emphasis on the local and the innovative who are stretched across our country.

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