jennifer richter – california overpasses

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Jennifer Richter

California Overpasses


Remembering Views From The Road

These images encompass my love for traveling by car or motorcycles and they take me back to my childhood road trips taken with my family.

I can still hear the words “GOD DAMMIT” bursting from my father’s mouth as he unsuccessfully tried to bring order to six loud children ensconced in the family Volkswagen bus during the 1970’s. Or later, cruising around with him in our orange convertible Volkswagen beetle and on his motorcycle. It was the middle of summer, with the sun going down, eating peanuts, rolling to Steely Dan and Cat Stevens on 8 track tapes on the radio. I recall vividly and fondly the countless rides to the swimming pool in the summer with my mom. Wearing our handmade terrycloth, pullover yellow ponchos, we would point our toy kaleidoscopes toward the sun and experience so many bright colors shining out like fragmented architectural landscapes. Then gazing out the car window, a coveted position I had to eternally fight for, I would record in my brain all of the landscapes and architectural forms on the way to the pool.

With these overpasses I chose to shoot the straight image of them in the most dramatic way possible.  I then ascended to the next level and turned them into architectural surreal images that are interesting to me. My work engenders hope that the individual observer viewing the work would be able to view these structures in a new way even when driving these same highways in the future.

Riding in cars or on a motorcycle, and looking out the window and feeling the breeze on my face is a type of euphoria for me.  I would point out anything and everything I saw that was interesting or out of place to me.  Recently living in California, and seeing all the different overpasses brought elation of those sweet memories. When I photograph some of the overpasses, I see kaleidoscopes aglow and sometimes roller coasters; or I visualize the sensations and recall what it feels like to ride on one. It gives me new insights and I think that maybe the architects’ base some of their own ideas on what they remember or wish they could experience again.

My viewpoints have been built from the ideas from other Master artist works of the past, whom I have studied such as Dali, M.C. Escher,  (surrealism, places that don’t exists), Andy Goldsworthy (the idea of earth as art and design), and Architect – Frank Gehry, (clean abstract design), and photographers Michael Kenna, Edward Weston, Jerry Uelsmann, to name a few.

With the movement of Dancers and the sounds of music take me on a flight and speed that I have always enjoyed and to translate it in to a image is a daunting task and very enjoyable. The curves and sharp angles of movement that you can see visual in the overpasses this is one of the ways I visualize sound and movement in an image. They pull you in even as a small image or a ten-foot image into the unfamiliar but existing worlds.

The surreal viewpoint is something I have found to be very inventive, inviting, and engrossing images to view. The overpasses themselves are surreal in nature and very artistic on their own. They show the movement that grips my soul and I am able to see objects and faces of things within the images that are of dreams and unreal, but at the same time they are genuine, because the object in the image is a photograph of something real.


Jennifer Richter is an emerging award winning fine art photographer, based in St. Louis, Missouri. She has been shooting photography since she was a child, but did not embrace her talent until she rediscovered it in college and her curiosity grew. Having moved to San Francisco, she furthered her studies in fine art photography. Jennifer has exhibited her work in numerous shows including Center of Fine Art Photography. She has participated in artists in residence program and taught workshops on photo in the local schools in St. Louis.  She is an artist who focuses on the compositional element of an image and the emotional response it elicits, and strives to bring greater awareness to the public through the lens of her camera.


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Jennifer Richter


Editor’s note:

Please only one comment per person under this essay.. Further discussions should take place under Dialogue..

Many thanks… david alan harvey

27 Responses to “jennifer richter – california overpasses”

  • Something completely different. In a way mind-opening.
    Together with the music creates a special mood.
    Thanks for showing to us.

  • Nice urban abstracts. Not really feeling the manipulated ones nearly as much. Would make interesting large scale prints/posters.


  • First half made me happy…
    Second half ( kaleidoscopic photoshop…)????/!!!!!!
    let me keep my trap shut…
    what the hell was that all about?

  • Well, of all the overpasses I’ve ever seen, these photos are some of them.

  • Jennifer,

    the straight shots, full bellied, serpentine, wiggle wormy or razor straight are such a delight. WHERE did you stand so as not to get yourself hurt? Also curious as to what camera you used? I have long wanted to do a series on rooftops and roads but am a bit daunted by the access issue. This must have taken you some time to complete?

    The transition to the surreal really worked for me. Momentarily I was confused, nearly ‘fooled’ into thinking some of these were actual, and in the few seconds it took my mind’s eye to catch up, it was exactly like I was a child beginning to see with my kaleidoscope and the images actual began to undulate, tying them back to the original straight forms. They are magical for your vision. As a photographer, I prefer the straight images, their weight and their hush. But as a creative child, a playful woman, I applaud you for doing what I see as a mark of a true artist: you have mined your experience, memory, emotion and vision to make manifest what others have not yet seen. Profound.

    I’d be interested in a print trade, maybe number 5 if you have a way to get a small silver gelatin image made, if you are interested ( Hope to meet you one day, Erica

  • i second the print trade offer.

  • digging the first half, not so much the second, kind of with panos…

    re: silver gelatin prints, are these film or digi? may we ask that?

    emcd: i’d guess 35mm (digi or not) and a long lens. if you get yourself a digicam with a less than full frame sensor you can turn a 70-200mm zoom into a 140-300 — but i’m probably not giving you new info with that…

    in any case, jennifer, congrats.


  • dq…exactly…
    or shoot with “snything”…and just crop..
    eviva photoshop…easyyyyyyyyyy

  • anything…not snything…jeee

  • I feel the same way about the abstract ones, not feeling it, I felt you were achieving what you wanted from the first half of the essay.

  • Jennifer – First, thank you for reminding me why I choose to live in Alaska. What you find liberating and exhilarating looks like a freaking nightmare to me and makes me feel like I am shackled. Not that we don’t have overpasses here – we do, but not like these.

    But I think you took a subject that millions and millions of people see everyday and put a whole new spin on it. Some of your manipulated images are amazing to look at.

  • I liked the straight shots, letting the geometry you found speak of itself, so to speak, but like Panos and dq, find the second part more…. Merging than emerging!

    Maybe 2 essays for the price of one, a year’s end gift?


  • I like this one so much!!!

    The first image caught my eye and forced my index to click “play” immediately. Didn’t read the statement or comments as usually and not planning (to for a while) either. What finely executed compositions, what wonderful play with lines, shapes, light and shadows. And yet, they are only highways. I was sure for a while that I was seeing flickering cars speeding by, just above the tip of the concrete. I was tempted to think that they were not stills! Maybe it was the music but I felt like I was travelling on these very motorways.

    And then it became more geometric, abstract and “artificial”. Just like the concrete itself actually is. That was the best part probably, but only because it evolved so organically.

    Truly wonderful presentation. My compliments and congratulations for being published of course.

  • I am a fan of design and architecture. Some neat stuff here, a little too much of the mirror image-thing going on when there is so much more that you can explore. Too much symmetry becomes predictable. Perhaps the music moves you but it seems a bit dramatic without a connection, but Jennifer, you are the author.


  • Looking at these images made me think of sketch’s…

  • The first part was so cool! It was hyper-real, but abstract and a new way of seeing at the same time. Beautiful. I’m not going to knock the second half, but it just didn’t do it for me as much … just not my style I guess.

  • Thank you all for your comments. I will share more information shortly.

  • i really enjoyed this! the lack of human subjects, strong lines and curves and the symmetry worked well. though i must say, i did find the many “kaleidoscopic” images became a bit gimmicky towards the end. a couple would have worked well intertwined with the ‘regular’ shots.
    i liked how you added music to this but i personally don’t think the track chosen worked too well with the images.
    thoroughly enjoyable work!!

  • I thought the kaleidoscopic shots were much more interesting than the straight ones — I would much rather see a selection or an exhibition of the kaleidoscopic ones. The straight ones are just compositional exercises, not particularly engaging. But the others are imaginative and fanciful, much more in keeping with the sensibility you describe in your intro.

  • I personally loved this piece. Maybe contradicting my stance on post-modern art (Dadaism) and it’s place in photography but I still enjoyed the piece including the track. I have seen this kaleidoscope treatment by a Toronto photographer (can’t recall his name sorry, who showed at Toronto Image Works last May) using photos of nature.

    Terence McKenna developed a computer model called Timewave Zero using the I-Ching and fractal mathematics that proposes a cyclical perspective of time vs the Newtonian/Einsteinium view of linear time. His theory predicts a singularity or point of novelty approaching infinity that coincides with other times of significant change including the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. The model predicts the next singularity arriving Dec 21st, 2012 based on a best fit model of the past. I think that is what we are seeing in photography with the advent of the digital camera, Photoshop, and the internet. The merging of previous movements in visual arts with the evolution of the idea of the photograph to a point where we will reach some new discovery or period of intense creativity that will be revered for hundreds of years to come. There is no point in standing in the way as time will march on with or without us.

    Please keep in mind that Terrence developed this idea while hanging out with South American indigenous tribes ingesting copious amounts of hallucinogens for weeks on end while psychically coming into contact with an insect like alien race that projected maternal love and peace to all of humanity. Just for the record.

  • would love to see these prints on a wall,
    without music…..

  • @Frostfrog You have nailed it! I started photographing and manipulating the image by hand over 6 years ago. Which made it a daunting task at the time. I am so happy that you feel the images are amazing to look at as I do. If you are able to view the images larger you can see all kinds of things within the images. I hope to have an exhibit of the work in a gallery soon. If your interested in following my work I do have a Fan Page on facebook and also have a blog you can get to from my website. To let you know though I am working on a documentary right now that is very different work from this work if you do look me up.
    Take care and Happy New Year!!

  • Wendy I hope to have a exhibit of the work in one of the US galleries of this work. I also in the process of having new books made of the work and will be for sale soon. If you want to keep track of my work I do have a fan page on facebook and a blog page, which you can find the link on website or google me. Thank you again for your comment and Happy New Year!

  • John Pitsakis thank you so much! You too also nailed it you could not have said it any better. You have expressed exactly what I hoped how people would experience the images. I wanted to take people on a ride with me and to experience how I see things around me through the lens.

  • John Gladdy,
    Which image are you interested in? I will also take a look over your website to pick an image. You can email me at

  • dq the images were shot on film. I started shooting the images in 2004. They can be found in the IPA International photo awards 2005 2nd place winner, 2008 IPA Honorable Mention, also in 2009 Px3 Prix De La Photographie Pairs 1st place winner architecture, and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Negative Space exhibit.

  • Thank you all again for your comments. Happy New Year!

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