As I mention in my bio, I’ve had a love affair with cars since I was about three years
old and the images in this series show that, along with my attraction to old, distressed, man-made objects and the character that’s expressed with age. These days, and maybe it’s connected to my own advancing years, I find less than perfect examples of vintage vehicles sometimes more interesting than restored ones or well kept originals. However, I still enjoy the glow of in-direct, natural light on corrugated stainless steel, like in the photo of the train-car in this series, and will be looking for more on this subject to capture in the same sort of light.....or maybe even different light.
Speaking of that, it’s a well known fact among commercial car shooters shoot
vehicles with glossy paint and chrome either before or after sunset, or on an overcast day, because, without the highlights of the sun to project pin-point reflections into the brightwork, the sky acts like a gigantic, studio soft-light.....actually it's the other way around....creating a even light that literally flows onto and around all of the reflective surfaces to beautifully define its form. The images in this series were all captured that way and, even though most of the shiny paint has long disappeared from these cars and what’s left of the chrome is also a little worse for wear, capturing them in such pretty light makes for interesting visual contrasts. At the same time, the specific way I’ve cropped these images takes them out of context, in relation to what they're attached to, which along with the very low-angle, Rodchenko inspired way I've composed them, sort of transforms them into WPA style, automotive sculptures.
This works very well in relation to the nearly heroic status automobiles held during
he 1950s and early '60s, representing a new found freedom to not only families, but
the largest generation of young people that America had ever known. Fifties and Sixties tail-fins, to me, is not only emblematic of that, but also captures that "towards tomorrow, upwardly mobile" attitude that was so prominent in America after WWII, that promised things like poverty finally be eliminated, with everyone living in the serenity of the suburbs with a swimming pool in the backyard and two cars in the garage.Also, when we looked in our rear view mirrors during that period, cars looked a lot friendlier, with front ends that were almost human like. Think about it...a couple of round headlights as eyes, a manufacturer's emblem in the middle of the grille for a nose and a smily-face, chrome grille that projected the attitude of the driver back then as
much as the cars of today do with their slanted, devil- eyed headlights and huge, menacing grilles. In fact, Jay Leno makes a humerous comparison of the front
end of his 1950 Nash Amasadoor Airflyte to Rodney Dangerfield's face right here: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGopLn5Apf8>
In contrast, while all of these details I've just mentioned represent the
kindness and positivity of a different time, even if somewhat naivé, the
images of these vehicle's rusted and faded dented-ness also represents the
deterioration of the same sort of values in America, with the myth
of a "better tomorrow for all" never really materializing.