The images in this portfolio were made in Wildwood, a resort community on the New Jersey Shore. It is the location of the largest concentration of mid-century motels in the nation. The style of these motels, built during the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, is often referred to as “Streamlined,” Googie,” “Doo Wop,” or “Moderne.” They meld the pent up demand for vacations after World War II with the exploding car culture. Wildwood’s great number of surviving examples of this architectural vocabulary and the many unusual variations make it an incredibly rich visual environment. Though there is a strong preservation movement, several of these unique and dramatic motels are torn down each year.
As an artist, I have great respect for the real things in front of the camera but much less respect for photographic truth. This book is not a straight documentation of the Wildwood architecture. Instead, I decided to use the rich and varied shapes and forms of these buildings as grist for the photographic mill. These images are works of art which are an interaction of the way the motels are constructed, the way photographs are constructed and the way I looked at and thought about these things.
Ed Elberfeld 2007