Route 66 may never return as an American highway, but it will never disappear from our collective memory. The Mother Road touches our very soul, causing us to reflect on the past and reconsider our place in the present. A Matter of Time offers readers a fresh and different perspective. Documenting 101 distinct locations along historic Route 66, this book emphasizes forgotten and familiar places—relics of the past that are seldom, if ever, portrayed in print.
Photographer Ellen Klinkel first traveled Route 66 in 2013. Immediately inspired to capture the road “in its pure essence” through the lens of her camera, she returned over the next four years to photograph various sites along the old highway. As she explains, the road is the “main character” in all her images, whether they depict a dramatic sky along Tornado Alley, a nightscape in the Mojave Desert, or a tranquil early morning on the Santa Monica Pier. She is drawn to places that evoke change and abandonment—especially ones that became obscure during the road’s periodic rerouting—as well as revival.
A Matter of Time follows the journey that so many Americans traveled for decades: starting from downtown Chicago, coursing through multiple states in the Midwest and Southwest, and culminating in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles. As a Route 66 historian and advocate, Nick Gerlich is deeply familiar with the entire route, both through personal experience and extensive research. His in-depth captions place Klinkel’s photographs in historical and cultural context, enhancing our understanding of her haunting images. Together, photographer and historian inspire new and unexpected ways to appreciate America’s Main Street.