Twentysix Gasoline Stations is the first artist’s book by the American pop artist Ed Ruscha. Published in April 1963 on his own imprint National Excelsior Press, it is often considered to be the first modern artist’s book, and has become famous as a precursor and a major influence on the emerging artist’s book culture, especially in America. The book does exactly what its title suggests, reproducing 26 photographs of gasoline stations next to captions indicating their brand and location.
My own petrol station project developed out a fascination with the glow from illuminated signs. The brightly lit canopies with their glowing strips of branding, red for Esso, green for BP, yellow and red for Shell were part of this subject matter. Like Ruscha, I wanted to create a photographic ‘map’ and the A1 was the obvious choice as it connects my home in London to my parent’s house in Yorkshire.