Married to America
Married to America is a body of work that was created while on tour with a 35mm slideshow alongside Russian Tsarlag & Jeff Zagers in late 2016. Disassociated fragments and mundane details of reality are positioned through a curious gaze, revealing a life & landscape of mystery in the American Underground. Published in 2017 by Hidden Eye Press as a 55 page monograph featuring essays by Carlos Gonzalez and Sam Lefebvre.
"To break so completely from the rituals and routines of daily life, to invite chance, opening the gates ever wider to all strains of mundane, fractured, vulgar, and exotic input. Travel can nourish you like no other experience can. Giving you little gifts, images, scenes, and moments that add color and detail to your day to day perceptions. But it works both ways. It can also mercilessly rub your face in the ever laughing/farting/drooling symbols of existential chaos and insanity. It's all out there burning eternally, waiting for some stranger to walk down the road and access it . . . Justin's photos in this collection capture both the banal and endlessly shifting mystery that confronts one on this mode of travel, and shows the beauty that is there to be unlocked in all modes of life, if one keeps looking." — Carlos Gonzalez, from introductory text
"[Rhody] used his modest digital camera gesturally, like a personal memory pointer or a wand, sometimes neglecting the viewfinder. It's a largely nocturnal selection of images, flooded with flash, and the subjects often appear aslant; Rhody is present as a passerby. Fittingly then, Married to America is less a dedicated documentarian's view of independent touring and more the observations of a participant.. . . This is a muted tour diary, a meditation on liminal moments." — Sam Lefebvre, from afterword
"Rhody is a special kind of subtle; he likes to switch from being a documentarian to being a mythmaker and does so rather seamlessly. He’s showing us the facts and asking us the questions. Pulling meaning from the esoteric, he juxtaposes the ludicrous and the gorgeous. . . . What happens in this book is exciting, Rhody illustrates his path, he machetes through the forest that is the American road and shows us the beautiful and unusual fruit found deep within the crevices of this country. Married to America is a triumph because it reminds you that life is full of wonder. That 'it' is something attainable. He reminds us that this isn’t just a computer simulation, but rather a decadent world best explored regardless of the situation."
— Christian Michael Filardo, review as book-of-the-week for the Photo-Eye blog