Farmland and backwoods areas of North America are littered with the rusting hulks of cars and trucks from a time long past. These once beautiful symbols of early mechanized transportation still show off the lines that gave them so much character and romantic appeal. Rust, brush, trees and grass now hide that past beauty.
Several years ago I met the owner of an out of the way field near Salmon Arm, B.C. where over 200 of these old relics lay in decay. He obligingly allowed me onto his property to photograph these wonderful old vehicles. Other than keeping a wary eye on the his ever present, pit-bull, I spent a couple of hours happily keeping my camera busy.
Some of these relics won’t sit here forever. A ‘car guy’ will rediscover his ‘first car’, buy it and transport it home. And from there over time, a resurrection will happen.
Most communities have a vintage car club whose members are dedicated to restoring old vehicles. Rust and grime make way for color and shine. Their artistry is amazing. In my opinion, the modern vehicle we see on the roads today may be wonders of engineering efficiency. However, their sameness, doesn’t compare to the wonderful design and iconic symbolism of the vintage car.
I’ve spent several Wednesday evenings in the summer photographing some of these resurrected vehicles. A weekly ‘Show and Shine’ nearby is fertile ground for photographers. Rust turned to shine is everywhere.
I find that even in fading sunlight photographing these restored beauties is difficult. The range of tones is too great for the camera to record without having blown out areas. Waiting for the sun to set or taking advantage of cloudy days gives me a better chance at balancing the tones within the image.