There has always been something incredibly haunting to me about the countryside that surrounds Oakdale, California, the small, rural Central Valley town that I grew up in.
All along the outside of town are a number of long, interconnected, winding roads that seem to stretch out endlessly into the horizon, looping through rolling hills and valleys of dead grass, cutting through massive pastures and farms, running alongside rushing rivers and decaying old barns, only to lead you to another endless road to nowhere.
These roads are at the center of this series, with these grainy, desolate images meant to evoke their hauntingly isolating beauty, as well as that of the ghostly, barren landscapes that surround them. The stark, monochromatic nature of these photographs transforms these landscapes from real, tangible places to wispy, faded memories made permanent by my camera.
When looking over these images now, I’m reminded of a quote by the late River Phoenix, spoken in his film My Own Private Idaho:
“There’s not another road anywhere that looks like this road, exactly like this road. It’s one kind of place. One of a kind… like someone’s face…”
About Ahmed Qaid
Ahmed Qaid is a Yemeni American filmmaker and photographer. As a second-generation Yemeni Muslim living within the United States, he has a passion for creating complex, authentic, and compassionate works that explore the experiences of the Arab diaspora within contemporary America.
Most recently, he wrote and directed the short film “Shadows,” which centers on a young Arab American woman who spends an evening reminiscing with her mother about her late sister, whose apparent, unexplained suicide months earlier continues to haunt them.
He is currently in the midst of development on his next short film, “Couples,” which centers on a young Yemeni couple who immigrate to the United States in the early 1990s in search of a new beginning.
He is also in the midst of planning his upcoming photography series “Wind from the East,” which seeks to highlight the beauty and diversity of the many Arab countries that make up the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the complex duality of being both Arab and American, through a series of studio portraits of the Arab diaspora within the United States.