Unguided Road Trip

A long-term artistic project on the “furnishing” of landscape in the US and Switzerland.



Title Information

Photographs by Roland Iselin. Essays by Nadine Olonetzky

1st edition

, 2017

Text English and German


204 pages, 132 color illustrations

25.5 x 24 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-517-0


Unguided Road Trip is photographer Roloand Iselin’s latest long-term project. Since 2011, he has been travelling his native Switzerland and his adopted second home country, the US, documenting how in either place the landscape is “furnished” with all sorts of structures and objects. Bus stops, public toilets, gas stations. We recognize such things and make use of the convenience they offer, yet we forget about them again immediately. In small and densely populated Switzerland, the landscape is cluttered with objects that serve a specific purpose: phone and letterboxes, benches, signposts, wayside crosses. But also the vast and scarcely inhabited open landscapes in the US are under some pressure in places, cut-across by roads lined by mass-produced objects.

Iselin has found many motifs common in both countries: memorials for victims of road accidents, cattle gates, rifle ranges with their pavilions, rest stops. A landscape’s “furniture” does not accumulate accidentally. Rather, each object is placed intentionally, and they testify in a way a society’s state. Iselin’s images demonstrate values and ideals and show how the design of these objects guides our behavior.

This new book for the first time brings together some 140 photographs from Iselin’s Unguided Road Trip. The images are complemented with texts by writer and photography critic Nadine Olonetzky.

Authors & Editors

Roland Iselin

, born 1958, graduated from the photography class at the School of Design in Zurich (today Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK) and also completed a Master’s degree at New York’s School of Visual Arts.

Nadine Olonetzky

, born 1962 in Zürich, freelance cultural publicist and editor with Scheidegger & Spiess publishers. Contributes regularly to NZZ am Sonntag and to books and catalogues on photography, art, and art history. Member of Kontrast (kontrast.ch) in Zürich.