Bernd Reinhardt

This, being sort of the official last day of summer, calls out for one last look at the potential of having time off–time to make work and time to hit the open road and leave the days open to possibility. That’s exactly what photographer/cinematographer Bernd Reinhardt was able to do this summer: take An American Road Trip.

Bernd was born in Germany where he studied English and Biology at the University of Heidelberg, but his dreams were of bright lights and the pull of the motion picture industry, so after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production, he headed west. Now a cinematographer for television and including his day (or should I say night) job for working for Jimmy Kimmel Live, Bernd still remains fascinated with American culture. He his the road this summer with his 4×5 camera, a good friend, and no expectations.

An American Road Trip: Growing up in Germany, I have always been fascinated with the expansive American landscape – and a road trip is the best way to experience it. Between the big cities, there are miles and miles of nothing – or so it seems when you have to traverse from one coast to another in as little time as possible. What I have come to discover is that when I slow down my time between destinations, the quiet beauty of America reveals itself.

On a recent road trip through the California desert in July, I loaded my old Volvo with cameras, film, and my good friend and fellow photographer Tom Munroe. We didn’t have a specific destination or artistic goal in mind, but we wanted to explore that quiet beauty between forgotten towns. It was like a fishing trip for photography. If we were lucky, we would catch something, otherwise we would still have a good time and a cold beer or two.

This was as much a journey of friendship as it was about photography, and what came out of this simple vacation filled with, at first glance, unremarkable places and people, was a profound reverence for all that we stumbled upon. We weren’t prepared for the beauty and the soulful quality of the people and places we encountered and we came away filled with a new respect for slowing down, pulling over, and taking the time to focus.