The British photographer’s series of painterly images of American street intersections convey a powerful sense of uncertainty
Decisions, decisions. The stage sets for Oli Kellett’s book, Cross Road Blues, are the pedestrian crossings on American city streets. His pictures feature people held at “Don’t Walk” signs for a few seconds, as here, wondering exactly which way to turn.
The idea for the work came to Kellett, who is British and based in Hastings, on a visit to the US before the 2016 elections. He was staying on Hope Street in Los Angeles, and there seemed an uneasy resonance in that name at the end of the Obama years. One late afternoon, Kellett saw, from high up, a woman standing at the roadside waiting for a green light to cross a large intersection. The grid pattern of the street, the softening afternoon sun which cast the woman in a natural spotlight all seemed to dramatise something of that uncertain political mood. Over the next couple of years, Kellett returned to the US several times, to different cities, always looking for new versions of that scene.