Cross Road Blues presents a selection of 33 photographs from UK-based Oli Kellett’s iconic series of the same name. Kellett began the project in 2016 during a visit Los Angeles, during which time the United States was literally at a political crossroads. The series evolved naturally from there, eventually taking on a more universal meaning as Kellett continued his work in other countries including Spain, Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
The binding context in each of Kellett’s images is their setting at a crossroads – a familiar place and metaphor for the tension we encounter throughout life. “We live in an era of fake news, political polarization and algorithmic echo chambers,” Kellett explains. “Our experience of the world is fractured as we live out multiple identities on and offline. But crossroads are a democratic place; we all have to wait.”
Kellett’s masterful use of use of natural light and subtle composition lends a cinematic quality to these unstaged scenes. The contrast between the anonymity of urban space and the individuality of human experience reveals the artist’s deep interest in the human psyche. As the writer and philosopher Nigel Warburton writes in his introductory essay for the book: “The step each person is about to take seems far more momentous than simply crossing a street”.
An admirer of the great American painter Edward Hopper, who famously reflected American life in silent spaces and melancholic moments, Kellett creates mesmerizing photographs of everyday people waiting at crossroads, providing us with a powerful contemporary metaphor.
Oli Kellett’s first monograph, Cross Road Blues is published to coincide with a solo exhibition at HackelBury Fine Art, London. Beautifully printed on a natural art paper and bound in gray cloth over board, with a large tipped-in cover plate, this first printing is limited to 1,000 casebound copies.