Thomas Hoepker was 27 when he embarked on his ambitious journey across the United States, a trip that took him from coast to coast in three months and resulted in thousands of photos. It was 1963 and Hoepker had been commissioned by the German magazine Kristall to “discover” America with his camera. The photo essays he produced, published over five issues of the magazine over dozens of pages, revealed Hoepker’s complex, skeptical and sometimes melancholic view of the American everyday, in big cities, small towns and all that there is between the two sides. It was an unromantic vision in which the decadent existed alongside desolation, glitter and dust.
As much as Hoepker recognized that the problematic American dream might not come true, he was fascinated by the country (moving to New York in 1976), and in 2020, at the age of 84 and after a successful career as a as a photojournalist and president of Magnum Photos – he once again embarked on a road trip across the United States. The Way It: Was Road Trips USA juxtaposes Hoepker’s color photographs of this trip with his original black and white images, taking us on a journey both through his changing sense of America and through time.
Thomas Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany in 1936. He studied art history and archaeology, then worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall between 1960 and 1963, reporting worldwide. He joined Stern magazine as a photojournalist in 1964. Hoepker worked as art director for Stern in Hamburg between 1987 and 1989, when he became a full member of Magnum. Specializing in reportage and elegant color background articles, he received the prestigious Kulturpreis from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie in 1968. Among many other awards for his work, he received one in 1999 from the German Ministry of foreign aid for Died in a cornfield, a film for television on Guatemala. Hoepker currently lives in New York. He shoots and produces television documentaries with his second wife, Christine Kruchen.
Thomas Hoepker: The Way It Was: Road Trips USA
Edited by Freddy Langer
Text by Freddy Langer
Book design: Freddy Langer, Holger Feroudj, Matthias Langner
192 pages, 436 images
8.5 x 11 in / 21.5 x 28 cm
Hardcover / Clothbound
US$50.00 / €45.00