Road Warriors, symbol of a bygone era. Hot Rods and Custom cars. It was a time when doing your own work was considered cool, and your social standing was enhanced by driving a car that was uniquely your own. Not something that came from your checkbook. So as part of my introspective end of year ritual, I’m trying to filter the 2013 photography collection down to a small group of the best shots. This collection is about my favorite Road Warriors.
There have been many quotes from iconic photographers of the past concerning the number of exceptional images they captured in a given year. The numbers most often quoted are generally around six to twelve. That’s one good photograph every four to eight weeks, from a legendary full time photographer.
I don’t for a moment think my work is at the same level, but I understand the concept behind reviewing your favorite images, and cutting them down to a small number. You are forced to look with a very critical eye at what you did right and what was wrong. Those small problems add up when looking at the images side by side.
I’m going to use a two level system. First break the images into subject groups, then pick favorites for each subject. Allow no more than five images in any group. Once favorites from each group are selected, there will be a smaller universe from which to choose the final series. Those shots will represent what I think is my best work of the past year.
The clean 1951 Ford Coupe at the top of the page was one of my first shots with the Tokina 11-16 ultra-wide lens. Using 12mm (18mm) allowed me to get a new perspective. There was also the advantage of a perfect summer day without a cloud in the sky. The reds and yellows of the Hardee’s Drive-In worked as a great backdrop for the black cars. The forced perspective and lead lines help define a focal point. I felt this was going to be a punchy shot before clicking the shutter.
The Golden Mercury low-rider custom was an outstanding work of art. I mean this car just glowed in the late afternoon sun. Being an old Hot Rod fanatic myself, I have a tendency to try and isolate the car against a clean background. But a good photograph is not always about making a great catalog shot. These Cruise-In events are about people getting together to show off and share their passion for these cars. The owner of this gem was wearing a red shirt, which provided a nice contrast. If the shot was being set up for an editorial that combination could not have been better.
The thing that intrigued me about this photograph is that it recalled the fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. People never see everything, so we take what information we can get, and then see what we want. This image is also about American Culture. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. One of my favorite snapshots of Americana.
This shot is a favorite because I was trying to shoot the Chevelle, and instead got a shot of the police officer. The way this guy was checking out this classic American Muscle Car told the story. You just know that in his younger years he had a performance car of some kind, and likely was on the wrong side of the law a few times. It was part of the coming of age ritual of that era. Something that is long gone in the decade of iPods and social media. Sometimes everything just comes together. I had a good lens at 16mm (24mm) to get the whole scene, it was just before sunset so there was great color and long shadows, and the shutter clicked at just the right moment.
These are my favorite Road Warrior shots. A little different from the traditional landscape and street photography, but fun nevertheless. For me, it’s a glimpse into American Culture and the good people that never make the evening news. Hope you enjoy.
Road Warrior Links
Cruisin Carolina is the place to keep up with these events.