Celina Innocent is a mother, a wife, and an adventurer filled with unquenchable wanderlust. She loves the ocean, sunshine, authentic people, road trips, funky local shops and jumping into new hobbies head first. When she isn't traveling she snuggles up with her husband Ben, and their two cats, brainstorming their next photo collaboration. Her work has been shown in Idaho and New York and shared in various publications including the Impossible Project Spectrum Collection, Uppercase Magazine, Mingle Magazine, and Kindred Magazine. Connect with her on Flickr and Etsy!
In March of 2013 Innocent started planning a US Route 66 photographic road trip using Impossible Project instant films, in conjunction with an Indiegogo campaign that offered rewards ranging from hand-signed postcards to a project book titled Instant Road Trip, made up of original instant photos captured from her adventure. Although there have been a lot of "dream adventures" for photographers on various crowd-sourcing websites, Innocent's intent for her rural American exploration wasn't just to create art along the famous interstate.
In 2012, Innocent's eight-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which sometimes held her back because of anxieties and fears. Exploring the open road and adventuring to new places, however, is something Innocent's daughter absolutely loves. Innocent decided to confront their newly-presented challenges with a way to bond and to create lasting memories with her daughter in this new chapter of their life.
By June of 2013 Innocent's crowd-sourcing campaign had reached 106% of her target goal with 54 contributors. She raised a total of $2,325 in a short 30 days. The funding of her campaign made her Route 66 family excursion a reality. The campaign would help to cover two weeks of Impossible film shooting, lodging, travel expenses, and backer rewards.
In July of 2013, after months of planning, Innocent traveled 4300 miles through ten states in two weeks on Route 66. To capture the rural American experience she documented the fallen barns, rusted chairs, forgotten cars, and Route 66 signage that has been in a state of "beautiful decay" for decades, as Innocent puts it. Wanting her daughter to be a part of the project, Innocent made sure her daughter had her own instant camera to bring along and use too.
The trip did not come without fresh challenges of it's own.
Innocent reflects on her excursion: "In hindsight I would not have chosen to travel through tornado alley during peak storm season. One of the first nights on the road I remember waking to the sound of an emergency alert on my phone for a severe storm. It had only been a few weeks prior that Moore, Oklahoma, had been devastated by a deadly tornado. It was one of the most sobering sights of my life to see the destruction first hand. I chose not to document this part of the journey on film as it was still such a recent event in those peoples lives."
Innocent continues: "Severe weather aside, my biggest challenge along the trip was the heat and keeping the film cool. I kept all film in a plug-in travel cooler which kept the temperature down enough to stop at destinations and not leave the air conditioning running non-stop. Quickly I developed a routine of rushing back to the car and blasting cool air on my shots. That is one of the great thing about Route 66: most attractions can be shot and seen just a short walk from your car. For longer field trips I carried an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack inside to stave off the 100-degree temperatures on the desert stops. I didn't always achieve optimal color in the extreme heat, but when I did I was awed by the results."
The images from the Route 66 trip were scanned and printed into Innocent's book Instant Road Trip as a reward for some of her Indiegogo contributors. Copies of the project book can be found on Amazon. See selected images from her road trip in the gallery below.