In 2015, Dutch photographer Poike Stomps published his project Crossing Europe—a series of photographs that captured intersections in each of Europe’s 42 capital cities. This past year, Stomps began a new project, carrying out a similar endeavor in the 50 capital cities of the United States, titled “Crossing the USA.”
While the series is in its early stages, we’re happy to support Stomps’ young effort. We were particularly intrigued to notice the vast difference in density between the United States and Europe as captured in these street intersections. “Capitals” like Jackson, Mississippi and Cheyenne, Wyoming look positively tiny in comparison to Europe’s historic population centers. The numerous and deep contrasts between the two continents are nicely conveyed in this dichotomy.
“Crossing the USA” is a project for which I will travel to, visit and experience all of the 50 capital cities in the United States of America.
In every capital city, I plan to make a photograph at an intersection somewhere in the city, regardless of whether it is busy or not. This is the same concept I followed for my project Crossing Europe. However, this approach clearly has different results in the USA. This is the case for several reasons: for one, most Americans prefer to drive rather than walk. The cities’ urban designs reflect this preference (or reinforce it). Given the divergence, I plan to pursue different visual approaches for this new environment—perhaps later images in this American series will feature crossings with cars or even animals.
This series will also differ from “Crossing Europe” because I plan to include portraits of individuals that I meet on the street. My hope is to have more personal encounters with my subjects—a chance to zoom in on a subject from a “Crossing” photo. It will add a more intimate dimension to the project.
My ultimate goal is to document the daily life of Americans. I have had the urge to learn more about America for a while, and it seemed to me that spending time in the United States would be the best way to have a sense of what life is really like there.
Editor’s Note: Poike’s earlier work, “Crossing Europe,” was selected as a finalist at the Italian festival Cortona on the Move. You can learn more about this project at its dedicated website and Facebook page.