It’s very possible that there’s never been a stranger time to road-trip across America, but that’s exactly what Sinna Nasseri is doing. Cross-country travel is nothing unusual for the New York-based photographer, who’s shot everything from the 2020 campaign trail in Nevada to the scene at the Iowa primary, but hitting the road during a global pandemic—after a summer of racial reckoning that led to protests around the country—is certainly new territory.
“I’ve been traveling pretty much this whole year, and after photographing the Democratic primaries, we got sidetracked a little bit by the coronavirus,” recalls Nasseri via phone. “This leg of my journey has been San Diego to Arizona, so far. It’s been more difficult to find people—I think people are more wary about being approached by a stranger, because of COVID-19—but surprisingly, it’s been less weird than I thought it would be. Things are still open, and random, lovely strangers have invited me to their homes. People are pushing forward, with masks and some distance; there’s a normalcy I wouldn’t have expected.”
Throughout his journey, Nasseri has been talking to people about the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of this summer’s uprisings. “I talk to people about everything, but I’m very interested in social movements right now,” he says, adding, “It’s a tumultuous time for our country, and everyone’s got an opinion. A lot of the opinions are informed by pundits on TV and media, so you hear a lot of the same things over and over from the different sides.”