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R O A D  T R I P
An American Journey - Work commissioned by The Musée des Suisses dans le Monde in Geneva, Switzerland. The exhibition was part of SMALL NUMBER-BIG IMPACT - The Swiss Immigration to the USA. February 24 / August 24, 2008

In this series John Bernhard is reflecting on a particular time of his life and his first experience in America during his 1978 road trip. With this glimpse of memory, John’s recollections bring out questions on the significant changes America has undergone since that time. This project directly challenges our culture of complacency. It is about becoming fully aware of the transformation we are going through. It is about the journey. It is about what can be learned from the experiences of our past. In a world that evolves and increasingly reinvents itself, the importance of the recollection of a distinct period of time can be used as a reference and should not be dismissed. The theme resonates with the book On the Road by Jack Kerouac published in 1957, the year John Bernhard was born. It differs in one single way; the humble intention of this series is only to share the journal of his odyssey without claiming to be the voice of a generation as Kerouac did. The photographs invite us to consider the changes that have taken place in the USA in the past 30 years. It is an inner personal exploration of his experience from the perspective of a Swiss immigrant to the USA, ultimately fulfilling his lifelong American dream. John Bernhard utilizes several techniques in his photography, which are derived from his collage techniques and the multi-layered images he is known for. From his trip he has incorporated painted backgrounds, scanned filmstrips, photographs and excerpts from his journal as an overlay. It invites multiple readings into the transformation under way. “When I left Geneva, my hometown, I swore I’d never come back. Now I have mixed feelings about returning to my Motherland. In my mind I see the end of an era for America.“ John Bernhard’s book in the making is largely autobiographical, narrated from his personal point of view, describing his road trip across Canada and the United States with his best friend, Alain Pugin.

The book under the title of AMERICA'S CALLwas published in March 2011

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