February 11, 2013

Roth and Ramberg and the Gutenberg Press


No, we’re not talking about the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450. Although interesting… we think the town of Guttenberg has it beat as far as interest goes. 

Guttenberg is a sleepy little town located in Iowa. It’s nestled next to the Mississippi river and it’s one of the many places we visited last year on our ‘What’s Yer 20’ adventure. In case you know nothing about our photo road trip, basically we used social media to determined where we should travel to next on our drive from Chicago to Walcott, Iowa, home of the World’s Largest Truckstop.

In this case, the town of Prarieburg was a bit of a dud so we proceeded to the second choice of our followers… Guttenberg.

We met and photographed a few people there and I guess we made a bit of an impression as it we recently made the front page of the local newspaper.

Here is the entire article:

By Molly Moser

Dale Roth and Michelle Ramberg are the Canadian photography duo Roth and Ramberg. Each year for the past 20 years, they’ve been publishing a calendar of their photos. In recent years they’ve been traveling to places like Las Vegas, Scotland, and Newfoundland in search of potential calendar pages.  

Last summer, Roth and Ramberg passed through Guttenberg on their way to the World’s Largest Truck Stop in Walcott, and captured the local character in their photographs. 

“This year was our 20th calendar, so we came up with the ‘What’s Yer 20’ theme and flew into Chicago. We drove from there to Walcott, home of the World’s Largest Truck Stop,” said Roth. ‘What’s yer 20’ is CB talk for ‘what’s your location.’ The phrase, made popular by Smokey and the Bandit, embodied the photographers’ idea to photograph truck drivers for their calendar.

Roth and Ramberg let their social media connections lead the way; Facebook and Twitter followers decided the photographers’ route as they traveled. Reaching Guttenberg, they filled up with gas and booked a room at The Landing. 

The duo was drawn to the vintage bar sign outside of Moxies Tap, where they met and photographed owner Jerri McGuine. “The name of the bar suited her, and she was full of it… Moxie, that is,” said Roth and Ramberg in the digital book they made to document their travels. 

“They were very pleasant to be around,” said Jerri, “We talked for quite a while, and then they started shooting pictures.” Roth and Ramberg took a candid photo of Jerri sitting cross-legged atop the bar, which can be viewed along with many other photographs from their trip on their website at www.rothandramberg.com, under the ‘2013 Project’ tab.

In a characteristic show of Midwestern hospitality, Jerri set the travelers up for a tour of Lakeside Ballroom the following day. “I think the size and history of the place struck them as intriguing,” said co-owner Kari Friedlein, who gave the photographers a tour. Roth and Ramberg posted photos and a description of the historic ballroom on their website. 

Before they went on to visit The Grotto in North Buena Vista and Breitbachs (both the feed store and the restaurant) in Balltown, the photographers made a final stop in Guttenberg at Rausch’s Café. Sue Rausch agreed to let them take her photo, posing in front of the café’s wood paneled walls and chrome barstools wearing a vintage apron. “They were really nice, friendly people,” said Sue, describing them as “down to earth, but edgy.” 

At the conclusion of the road trip, Roth and Ramberg decided to make two calendars – one of the truckers they met in Walcott, and one of the people they met along the way. With the snap of their camera that day last summer, Sue Rausch became a calendar girl. She was chosen to be Roth and Ramberg’s Miss September of 2013.

In Western Canada, the travelers are known for photographs of people in their advertising work. Roth and Ramberg look for interesting people in their everyday environments for their calendar. 

“We met incredible, hospitable people along the way, and the people in Guttenberg and nearby Balltown were among the friendliest for sure,” said Roth. “As usual with our calendars, we realized that people everywhere are generally hard working, great people who are more than happy to help out, and Iowa was no exception.”

Here are some of the magazine spreads of our time in Guttenberg. Download our app if you want to read more.