Sara Macel

Sara Macel is an artist and photographer born and raised in Spring, Texas and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and her BFA in Photography and Imaging from New York University Tisch School of the Arts in 2003. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in various private collections, and in public collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center, and at the Center of Photography at Woodstock. Her first monograph, May the Road Rise to Meet You, was published by Daylight Books in 2013. In addition to her freelance work, Sara currently teaches photography at SUNY Rockland and is currently an artist-in-residence at the Wassaic Project in upstate New York.

Sara_Macel_01_oIn the Company Car in 1981, Spring, Texas, 2009

Sara_Macel_02_oPlane Over Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2009

May the Road Rise to Meet You

For the past forty years, my father has traveled around America as a telephone pole salesman. May the Road Rise to Meet You is a pseudo-documentary and biography of his professional life, recreated as a collaboration between father and daughter to create a visual document the life he has led separate from our shared family experience. In popular mythology, few professions are as emblematic of America as the traveling salesman. As the Internet and outsourcing make this once ubiquitous occupation obsolete, May the Road Rise to Meet You explores the life of a businessman alone on the road. On a larger scale, this project explores the changing nature of the road in American culture and in the history of photography.

Sara_Macel_03_oIn the Drivers Seat, Cut and Shoot, Texas, 2009

Sara_Macel_04_oThe Towering Figure, Huntsville, Texas, 2011

The project opens with an old family snapshot of my father at the age I am now in his first company car and ends with him as an old man sitting on a hotel bed an entire career compressed into one long business trip. As we move through the images, following him from the car to a plane to the hotel and on, the viewer perspective shifts back and forth from his point of view to mine looking at him. Some of the photographs are from our travels together. Others are staged based on stories he told me. And interwoven in the sequence are hotel notes he wrote to himself and saved over the years. In the same way that a family photo album functions to present an idealized version of a family history, these photographs tell the story of how we both want his life on the road to be remembered.

Sara_Macel_05_oWhere He Waits For Me, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, 2009

Sara_Macel_06_oAfter the Rain, Houston, Texas, 2010

We were traveling north on I-45 through Texas, when I asked my dad what it was like dealing with customers. He told me: There’s that old saying that you don’t know someone until you walk a few miles in their moccasins. It was in that spirit that I put myself in my father size 10 boots. What I found in chasing this enormously elusive male figure is that I can never fully know my father or what it is like to be a man alone on the road.

Sara_Macel_07_oHouse of Pies, Houston, Texas. 2009

Sara_Macel_10_oBehind the Wood Treatment Plant, Jasper, Texas, 2011

Sara_Macel_12_oCharlie, Dad, and Larry, Jasper, Texas, 2011

Sara_Macel_14_o7:00 a.m., Denny’s Breakfast, Spring, Texas, 2010

Sara_Macel_17_oFoggy Runway, Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2009

Sara_Macel_18_oTerminal C, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, 2011

Sara_Macel_19_oView from the Pool, Comfort Inn, Little Rock, Arkansas

Sara_Macel_20_oDennis, Anthony Macel, Hitchcock, Texas, 2010

Sara also was recently named a winner in Magenta Foundation Flash Forward, Top 50 Photographers in Photolucida Critical Mass Award, winner in the New York Photo Festival Invitational, and finalist in FotoVisura Spotlight Awards. In 2012, Sara received the Individual Photographer Fellowship Grant from the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

To view more of Sara’s work, purchase your copy of May The Road Rise To Meet You, available in our shop and visit her website.

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