• 11.9.09

    In Search of Eustace

    It all started with the Chateau Marmont. A young teenager from Glasgow hears stories of the legendary hotel from her father and his friends who travel for work. "One day," he promises, "you and I will have lunch at the Chateau Marmont." Months later, they pack their bags and head to the city of angels for a road trip that neither one of them will ever forget.

    For three weeks, David Eustace and his 16-year-old daughter Rachael traveled from Los Angeles to Eustace, a small town near Dallas, Texas. They passed through Death Valley on the way to Las Vegas, then headed north towards Boulder City and Lake Mead. They continued their journey east to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then further past Amarillo and Wichita Falls, Texas until they reached their namesake destination.

    Throughout the trip they documented their journey with snapshots, videos, journals, and keepsakes. All of these mementos are assembled together onto Anthropologie's theanthropologist.net, the brainchild of creative director Trevor Lunn. The site "is an online space for inspiring works and inspiring individuals." Film-maker and photographer Andrew Zuckerman and director Jane Campion are also featured.

    Anthropology is the study of human beings, and for those three precious weeks David Eustace and his daughter Rachael experienced a sometimes silent but nevertheless eye-opening study of each other.

    Until the road trip, Rachael's only impression of America had been of big cities such as New York and Miami. David Eustace had spent time photographing strangers from San Francisco to Chesapeake Way for "The American Character Project" and felt it was important that she discover what the rest of the country held. Furthermore, the trip was a reward for finishing her high school exams and a chance to build her portfolio before applying to art school.

    Eustace's work often took him away from home, and the road trip offered a golden opportunity for him to spend unfettered time with Rachael. Day by day she was growing more and more into her own, with passions, dreams, and her own point of view. He realized that this may be one of the last moments to spend whole, uninterrupted time with her. Accompanying them was friend and assistant, Eduardo Fiel.

    During the trip there were times when nary a word would pass between father and daughter for hours, but it was the unspoken lessons that were the loudest. Eustace reflects, "She quietly with her actions showed me how important it was to say sorry even if you still are not convinced it was your fault. She reminded me of how to be able to walk up to a stranger and smile and say hello."

    Watching her dad shoot in the heavy downpour as she sat in the warm and dry car, Rachael saw that "photography requires not only talent, but true passion and dedication." When she photographed him jumping in the middle of a freeway, she could see that "he was still a child at heart" and hoped to never lose that sense.

    Looking back on his favorite parts of the trip, Eustace confirms that "every moment was magic." Rachael is currently working on her portfolio and applying to art schools, possibly spending a year in Paris. Near or far, father and daughter will retain the memories from this trip for eternity.

    -Helen Shih


    David Eustace is an acclaimed photographer who's work has been described as "Beautiful, calm portraiture, a true rarity these days."

    View more photos, videos, mementos, and interviews from the journey at theanthropologist.net.

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