The Trippy American Roadtrip You Can Legally Take

Old-fashioned photo manipulation is one hell of a drug. 

The Great Unreal
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009

What’s to stop you from hoovering up a pint of psychedelic chemicals, slotting that shifter into “D” and peeling out towards America’s byways? Well, the law and, perhaps, a sense of moral obligation that keeps you from driving our nation’s public, human-filled roads while under the influence. Still, that trippy roadtrip would be awesome. Just ask Kerouac. Now, if only there were some way to experience mind-expanding pavement without risking life and limb...

Enter, The Great Unreal, a stellar new book of photography from Berlin-based photographers Nico Crebs and Taiyo Onorato filled with surreal landscape portraits constructed from bits and pieces of America’s infrastructure. All the trip, none of the felony charges.

Backstory: A couple of years ago, the German photographers took a road trip across the U.S. with equal interests in showing the landscape as life and dreams. Without resorting to any digital manipulation, the pair created brilliantly confounding photos, both familiar and otherworldly. All the contours are recognizable—sagebrush, dotted yellow lines, telephone poles—but arranged in such a way that eludes easy understanding. It’s mind-bending collage, the photo illustrations you could make were you supremely talented and nursing a mug of peyote tea. So, while you’ll likely never write The Great American Novel or drive Route 66 on 'shrooms, you should take a moment to indulge in travel photography so captivating and unsettling, the pavement might well be melting beneath your feet. Dude.

Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009
Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, "The Great Unreal", Edition Patrick Frey, 2009