Posts Tagged ‘automobiles

04
Feb
16

Photographs: ‘Andrew Follows: Carmania’

February 2016

 

Australian vernacular

Hats off to my photographer friend Andrew Follows for a stunning set of Australian automobile photographs.

These photographs, taken during daylight at the BP station before the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne, and at twilight on the opposite side of the freeway at the corresponding BP station after the cars have returned from their drive to Frankston, are superb.

Andrew and I have an intense passion for cars. Only through this true immersion and engagement can you get photographs that are so evocative of subject matter, that are so atmospheric of place, space and the cars themselves. These are some of the best car photographs I have seen in a very long time… a kind of Australian vehicular vernacular.

I have sequenced these photographs for Andrew so that they tell a story, a modernist story of light, form and design, interspersed with vibrations of energy (punctum) such as Buick 1956 or XA Ford Faclon coupe GT 1974 Faze 4. Look at the crack in the concrete of this image as it leads into the car which both crouches down and seems to float in the air. Then just look at the clean presence of XB Faclon 500 coupe John Goss special 1975 or the space and light in the image VE Valiant sedan with red Ford pick up truck. God I love them…

To then finish the sequence with that classic Aussie car, HDT Holden LH Torana L34 1978, captured in such an eloquent image of movement and light. Just sensational.

Andrew, you could make a living taking photographs of car art!

Marcus

** Please make sure you enlarge these images to see them to best advantage. **

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Many thankx to Andrew Follows for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All images © Andrew Follows 2016.

 

 

Andrew Follows. 'XB Faclon 500 coupe John Goss special 1975' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
XB Faclon 500 coupe John Goss special 1975
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Ford Falcon S Pack 1982' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Ford Falcon S Pack 1982
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'HQ Holden Monaro GTS 1972' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
HQ Holden Monaro GTS 1972
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'VH Holden Commodore SL/E 1983' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
VH Holden Commodore SL/E 1983
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Ford XY Fairmont 1969' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Ford XY Fairmont 1969
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'XW GT Ford Falcon 1968' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
XW GT Ford Falcon 1968
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'HK Holden Monaro GTS 127ci' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
HK Holden Monaro GTS 127ci
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Cadillac Coupe de Ville 1965' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Cadillac Coupe de Ville 1965
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Ford Mustang Fastback 1966' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Ford Mustang Fastback 1966
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Ford Mustang 302 Boss 1970' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Ford Mustang 302 Boss 1970
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Ford Mustang 2 door hardtop' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Ford Mustang 2 door hardtop
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Buick 1956' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Buick 1956
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'Black Ford pick up truck' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
Black Ford pick up truck
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'VE Valiant sedan with red Ford pick up truck' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
VE Valiant sedan with red Ford pick up truck
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'VF Valiant coupe 1969' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
VF Valiant coupe 1969
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'VF Valiant coupe 1969' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
VF Valiant coupe 1969
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'XA Ford Faclon coupe GT 1974 Faze 4' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
XA Ford Faclon coupe GT 1974 Faze 4
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'HQ Holden Kingswood wagon 1972' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
HQ Holden Kingswood wagon 1972
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'VK Chrysler Valiant 1976' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
VK Chrysler Valiant 1976
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

Andrew Follows. 'HDT Holden LH Torana L34 1978' 2016

 

Andrew Follows
HDT Holden LH Torana L34 1978
2016
From the series Carmania
Digital photograph

 

 

Andrew Follows Photographer website

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31
Dec
14

Exhibition: ‘Robert Frank in America’ at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University Part 1

Exhibition dates: 10th September 2014 – 5th January 2015

Curator: Peter Galassi

 

 

The lunatic sublime of America

This is the first part of a bumper two-part posting.

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924) is one of the most important photographic artists of the twentieth century. He was born in Switzerland but he emigrated to American in 1947. He soon gained a job as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. He honed his craft as a photographer in England where he took formal, classical images of British life during a trip to Europe and South America in 1947.

He became friends with Edward Steichen and Walker Evans, and it was Evans who supported him in his Guggenheim Fellowship application in 1955 which enabled him “to travel across the United States and photograph all strata of its society. Cities he visited included Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; Miami Beach and St. Petersburg, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana;Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Butte, Montana; and Chicago, Illinois. He took his family along with him for part of his series of road trips over the next two years, during which time he took 28,000 shots. 83 of these were selected by him for publication in The Americans.”1

In The Americans, Frank documents, “the tensions between the optimism of the 1950s and the realities of class and racial differences. The irony that Frank found in the gloss of American culture and wealth over this tension gave his photographs a clear contrast to those of most contemporary American photojournalists, as did his use of unusual focus, low lighting and cropping that deviated from accepted photographic techniques.2

Originally published as Les Américains in 1958 by Robert Delpire in Paris, and finally in 1959 in the United States by Grove Press, reaction in America was initially hostile. They American critics did not like Frank’s shoot from the hip style of photography, nor the mirror that was being held up to their society, especially by a Jewish foreigner. Over time The Americans came to be seen as a seminal work of American photography and social history. Like many artists, Frank only took photographs for a relatively short period of time, before moving on to become a filmmaker.

One cannot forget the era in which Frank took these photographs – that of McCarthyism and “the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened political repression against communists, as well as a campaign spreading fear of their influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.”3 Americans were suspicious of foreigners, especially ones with cameras, and this was still the era of racial segregation pre the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

With regard to the structure of the photographs, their origin is based in classicism. This was Frank’s training. It was his skill as an artist, his intuitive and prescient vision of America – how he saw America like no one else before him had – that enabled him to ramp up the intensity, shoot from weird angles, low lighting, cropping, depth of field, unusual focus – and focus on the iconography of America as never seen before: jukeboxes, American flags, cars, highways, death, racial segregation – that was so revolutionary. But he could not have done that without his formal training. You only have to look at the comparison between the photographs of Robert Frank and Walker Evans. Formal and elegant in Evans Church Organ and Pews (1936) and Downtown street, New Orleans (December 1935) with lines vertical and clean… and then Frank, with hardly a straight line or neat angle to be seen. But the one does inform the other, otherwise Frank’s photographs would just become snapshots, vernacular photographs with very little meaning. Which they are not.

This is one of the most powerful, lyrical, humanist photo essays of a country that has ever been taken. Critic Sean O’Hagan, writing in The Guardian in 2014, said The Americans “changed the nature of photography, what it could say and how it could say it. [ . . . ] it remains perhaps the most influential photography book of the 20th century.”4 As an artist, Frank became the great connector for he is the critical link in the chain that stretches from Lewis Hine through Walker Evans… and on to Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand and Joel Meyerowitz.

As an artist you marvel at his intuition and inspiration, to look at the world as no one else had done before, to push the boundaries of medium and message. To photograph people, alone and in groups; politics; religion; race; automobiles and the road; and the media and thrust them into the white, bright, happy world of 1950s consumerist America saying: this is what this country is really like, this is my “impression” of you in all your fleeting madness, “America as an often bleak and lonely place.” You only have to look at the “eye” in U.S. 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho (1956, below) or look at the photograph of the grave by the side of the road to know that you are in Blue Velvet territory (David Lynch, director 1986, the title is taken from The Clovers’ 1955 song of the same name). I am not sure yet how one world pierces the other but believe me they surely do.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Cantor Arts Center for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“It was the vision that emanated from the book that lead not only me, but my whole generation of photographers out into the American landscape, in a sense, the lunatic sublime of America.”

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Joel Meyerowitz

 

“Like a boxer trains for a fight, a photographer by walking the streets, and watching and taking pictures, and coming home and going out the next day, the same thing again, taking pictures. It doesn’t matter how many he takes, or if he takes any at all, it gets you prepared to know what you should take pictures of, or what is the right thing to do and when.”

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Robert Frank

 

 

Walker Evans. 'Main St., Ossining, New York' 1932

 

Walker Evans
Main St., Ossining, New York
1932
Gelatin silver print

 

Robert Frank. 'Detroit' 1955

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
Detroit
1955
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

 

“In 1955 and 1956, Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank (b. 1924) traveled throughout the United States on a Guggenheim Fellowship, photographing ordinary people in their everyday lives. His book The Americans – 83 photographs, mostly from those travels, published in 1959 – repudiated the bland good cheer of the magazines with an image of the country that was starkly at odds with the official optimism of postwar prosperity. The book became a landmark of photographic history; but Frank soon turned to filmmaking, and the rest of his early photographic career was largely forgotten. An important group of unknown or unfamiliar photographs in the Cantor Arts Center’s collection provides the core of the exhibition Robert Frank in America, which sheds new light on the making of The Americans and presents, for the first time, Frank’s American photographs from the 1950s as a coherent body of work.

“We are delighted that the Cantor’s collection has provided the basis for a fresh look at one of the great achievements of 20-century photography,” said Connie Wolf, John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center. “We are also deeply grateful to Robert Frank, who has generously contributed to the project.”

The exhibition Robert Frank in America, on view September 10, 2014 through January 5, 2015, features 130 photographs drawn primarily from the Cantor’s collection as well as from other public and private collections and from Frank himself. Peter Galassi, former chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is the exhibition’s guest curator and author of the accompanying publication.

 

The Exhibition’s Development from the Cantor’s Collection

In the summer of 2012, Wolf invited Galassi to offer his thoughts on one of the museum’s hidden treasures: more than 150 photographs by Robert Frank given to the Cantor in the mid-1980s by Stanford alumnus Bowen H. McCoy and his colleague Raymond B. Gary. This remarkable collection spans the full range of Frank’s photographic career before he turned to filmmaking in the early 1960s. It is especially rich in Frank’s American work of the 1950s, including scores of photographs that are unknown or unfamiliar even to scholars. Wolf and Galassi saw an opportunity to share this work with Stanford students, faculty, scholars at large and the general public.

Research began at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, where more than two decades ago the artist established the archive of his photographic career prior to 1970. Studying more than 1,000 contact sheets enabled Galassi to determine the locations and dates of dozens of previously unidentified photographs in the Cantor collection. He then selected works for the exhibition so as to identify Frank’s major themes and artistic strategies. The compelling sequence of The Americans poetically weaves diverse images into a seamless whole, but Robert Frank in America groups related pictures to explore the pictorial strategies that Frank developed as he worked, and also to highlight important subjects – people, alone and in groups; politics; religion; race; automobiles and the road; and the media.

Frank repeatedly photographed isolated figures so that they seemed trapped by pictorial forces, for example. This powerful metaphor for Frank’s vision of lonely individuals imprisoned by social circumstances is announced in the first picture, The Americans, where the flag obliterates a spectator’s face (Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955). In Robert Frank in America, that photograph is juxtaposed with another that uses the identical pictorial scheme but a different subject; the interior of a bar (New York City, 1955).

“Although The Americans is famous – partly because it is famous – Robert Frank’s American work of the 1950s has never been considered as a whole,” said Galassi. “The full range of the work shows just how Frank turned the vocabulary of magazine photojournalism on its head and used it to speak in a personal, poetic voice.”

Inviting Galassi to organize the exhibition was part of the museum’s renewed commitment to collecting, studying and presenting photography, Wolf says. The Cantor has been adding to its already strong holdings, presenting innovative exhibitions of work by distinguished artists and providing a valuable opportunity for Stanford students and faculty to work directly with photographs. Leland Stanford’s commission more than a century ago for Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering work on animal locomotion serves as a foundation for the museum’s extensive collection today.

 

Exhibition catalogue

The major catalogue accompanying this exhibition is published by the Cantor Arts Center in association with international publisher Steidl, with whom Frank has worked closely on most of his books. All 130 photographs in the exhibition are reproduced as full-page tritone plates. Galassi’s extensive essay traces the evolution of Frank’s work from his arrival in the United States in 1947 until he abandoned his first photographic career in the early 1960s. The text provides a thorough outline of the photographic context in which Frank at first sought success as a magazine photojournalist as well as a detailed analysis of the methods and strategies that lie behind The Americans. The essay features 24 illustrations, including an unprecedented map of Frank’s 1955-56 Guggenheim travels, which locates the sites of nearly all of the photographs in The Americans and in Robert Frank in America. The 200-page book, with a foreword by Connie Wolf, is designed by Katy Homans, New York.

 

Robert Frank

Robert Frank was born in 1924 in Zürich, Switzerland. The conclusion of World War II ended his vulnerability (his father was a German-born Jew) and enabled him to escape what he regarded as a narrow, antiquated culture. Soon after reaching New York in March 1947, he was hired by Harper’s Bazaar, but his distaste for photographing fashion led him to quit after six months. Over the next five or six years, in Europe and the United States, Frank aimed to establish himself as a freelance photojournalist, with limited success. A Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded in March 1955 and renewed a year later, freed him to pursue his work independently, and he soon began to travel in hopes of making a book. Les Américains was published by Robert Delpire in Paris in 1958 and, as The Americans, by Grove Press in New York in 1959. The latter included an introduction by Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road.

Film and video have formed a central aspect of Frank’s work since 1959, when he collaborated with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Alfred Leslie on Pull My Daisy. In 1972, however, he resumed making photographs, often using Polaroid positive-negative materials and incorporating text and multiple images. That same year he published the first of several editions of The Lines of My Hand, a book that surveyed his career in all mediums and initiated reconsiderations of his early photographic career. The first full-scale retrospective of his photographs was organized at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1986. In 1990, a major gift by Frank established the Robert Frank Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, which has since presented two major exhibitions, each accompanied by an important book: Robert Frank: Moving Out (1994) and Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans” (2009).”

Press release from the Cantor Arts Center

 

Robert Frank. 'Beaufort, South Carolina' 1955

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
Beaufort, South Carolina
1955
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

 

Guggenheim proposal summary

“To photograph freely throughout the United States, using the miniature camera exclusively. The making of a broad, voluminous picture record of things American, past and present. This project is essentially the visual study of a civilization and will include caption notes; but it is only partly documentary in nature: one of its aims is more artistic than the word documentary implies.”

 

The full statement

“I am applying for a Fellowship with a very simple intention: I wish to continue, develop and widen the kind of work I already do, and have been doing for some ten years, and apply it to the American nation in general. I am submitting work that will be seen to be documentation - most broadly speaking. Work of this kind is, I believe, to be found carrying its own visual impact without much work explanation. The project I have in mind is one that will shape itself as it proceeds, and is essentially elastic. The material is there: the practice will be in the photographer’s hand, the vision in his mind. One says this with some embarrassment but one cannot do less than claim vision if one is to ask for consideration.

“The photographing of America” is a large order - read at all literally, the phrase would be an absurdity. What I have in mind, then, is observation and record of what one naturalized American finds to see in the United States that signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere. Incidentally, it is fair to assume that when an observant American travels abroad his eye will see freshly; and that the reverse may be true when a European eye looks at the United States. I speak of the things that are there, anywhere and everywhere - easily found, not easily selected and interpreted. A small catalog comes to the mind’s eye: a town at night, a parking lot, a supermarket, a highway, the man who owns three cars and the man who owns none, the farmer and his children, a new house and a warped clapboard house, the dictation of taste, the dream of grandeur, advertising, neon lights, the faces of the leaders and the faces of the followers, gas tanks and postoffices and backyards.

The uses of my project would be sociological, historical and aesthetic. My total production will be voluminous, as is usually the case when the photographer works with miniature film. I intend to classify and annotate my work on the spot, as I proceed. Ultimately the file I shall make should be deposited in a collection such as the one in the Library of Congress. A more immediate use I have in mind is both book and magazine publication.”

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924) 'En route from New York to Washington, Club Car' 1954

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
En route from New York to Washington, Club Car
1954
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

Robert Frank. 'Florida' 1958

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
Florida
1958
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

 

“I am grateful to the Guggenheim Foundation for their confidence and the provisions they made for me to work freely in my medium over a protracted period. When I applied for the Guggenheim Fellowship, I wrote: “To produce an authentic contemporary document, the visual impact should be such as will nullify explanation.”

With these photographs, I have attempted to show a cross-section of the American population. My effort was to express it simply and without confusion. The view is personal and, therefore, various facets of American life and society have been ignored. The photographs were taken during 1955 and 1956; for the most part in large cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and in many other places during my Journey across the country. My book, containing these photographs, will be published in Paris by Robert Delpire, 1958.

I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others – perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.

My photographs are not planned or composed in advance and I do not anticipate that the on-looker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind – something has been accomplished.

It is a different state of affairs for me to be working on assignment for a magazine. It suggests to me the feeling of a hack writer or a commercial illustrator. Since I sense that my ideas, my mind and my eye are not creating the picture but that the editors’ minds and eyes will finally determine which of my pictures will be reproduced to suit the magazines’ purposes.

I have a genuine distrust and “mefiance” toward all group activities. Mass production of uninspired photojournalism and photography without thought becomes anonymous merchandise. The air becomes infected with the “smell” of photography. If the photographer wants to be an artist, his thoughts cannot be developed overnight at the corner drugstore.

I am not a pessimist, but looking at a contemporary picture magazine makes it difficult for me to speak about the advancement of photography, since photography today is accepted without question, and is also presumed to be understood by all – even children. I feel that only the integrity of the individual photographer can raise its level.

The work of two contemporary photographers, Bill Brandt of England and the American, Walker Evans, have influenced me. When I first looked at Walker Evans’ photographs, I thought of something Malraux wrote: “To transform destiny into awareness.” One is embarrassed to want so much for oneself. But, how else are you going to justify your failure and your effort?”

Robert Frank, U.S. Camera Annual, p. 115, 1958

 

Robert Frank. 'Lusk, Wyoming' 1956

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
Lusk, Wyoming
1956
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

Robert Frank. 'Main Street - Savannah, Georgia' 1955

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
Main Street – Savannah, Georgia
1955
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Raymond B. Gary

 

Walker Evans. 'Downtown street, New Orleans' December 1935

 

Walker Evans
Downtown street, New Orleans
December 1935
Gelatin silver print

 

Robert Frank. 'New York City' 1949

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print
Lent by Peter Steil

 

 

 

Robert Frank. 'New York City' early 1950s

 

Robert Frank (U.S.A., b. Switzerland 1924)
New York City
early 1950s
Gelatin silver print
Cantor Arts Center Collection, Gift of Bowen H. McCoy

 

 

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5060
T: 650-723-4177

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday 11 am – 8 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday

Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University website

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07
Nov
13

Exhibition: ‘Lee Friedlander – America by Car’ at Foam, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 13th September – 11th December 2013

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“I’m not trying to do something to you, I’m trying to do something with you.”

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American pianist and composer Keith Jarrett at a concert in Melbourne, 1970s

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LEE FRIEDLANDER IS ONE OF THE GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT HAS EVER LIVED.

The vision of this man is incredible. His complex, classical photographs in such books as Letters from the People (1993), Flowers and Trees (1981), The American Monument (1976) and America by Car (2010) have redefined the (photographic) landscape. The artist is constantly reinventing himself, reinventing pictorial space – cutting, distorting, reflecting it back onto itself – to create layered images (after Eugène Atget and Walker Evans). These self-reflective spaces are as much about the artist and his nature as they are about the world in which he lives. They have become the basis of Friedlander’s visual language. Here is a love of the medium and of the world that is a reflection of Self.

I don’t see these cars (or photographs) as illusion factories. For me, this series of work is akin to a tri-view self-portrait. Instead of the artist painting the sitter (as in the triple portrait of Cardinal Richelieu, 1627 below), a vision, an energy of Self emanates outwards from behind the bulwark of the car steering wheel and dash. It is a Self and its relationship to the world split into multifaceted angles and views. He looks out the left window, the front window, the side window – and then he splits his views between side and front windows using the A pillar of the car as a dividing, framing tool. Sometimes he throws in the reflections of him/self with camera in the rear view mirror for good measure. There is wit, humour and irony in these photographs. There is cinematic panorama and moments of intimacy. There is greatness in these images.

Friedlander is not trying to do something to you, but something with you, for he is showing you something that you inherently know but may not be aware of. Like a Zen master, he asks you questions but also shows you the way. If you understand the path of life and the energy of the cosmos, you understand what a journey this is.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Many thankx to Foam for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674) 'Triple portrait of Cardinal Richelieu' 1642

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Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674)
Triple portrait of Cardinal Richelieu
c. 1640
Oil on canvas
58 cm (22.8 in) x 72 cm (28.3 in)
The National Gallery, London
This reproduction is in the public domain

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Lee Friedlander. 'Bettina Katz, Cleveland, Ohio' 2009

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Lee Friedlander
Bettina Katz, Cleveland, Ohio
2009
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Houston, Texas' 2006

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Lee Friedlander
Houston, Texas
2006
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Denali National Park, Alaska' 2007

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Lee Friedlander
Denali National Park, Alaska
2007
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Nebraska' 1999

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Lee Friedlander
Nebraska
1999
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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“The automobile has come to symbolise the American dream and the associated urge for freedom. It is therefore no surprise that cars play a central role in the series America by Car and The New Cars 1964 by renowned American photographer Lee Friedlander (1934, US), now receiving their first showing in the Netherlands.

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Road Trip

America by Car documents Friedlander’s countless wanderings around the United States over the past decade. In this he follows a trail laid down by numerous photographers, film makers and writers like Robert Frank, Stephen Shore and Jack Kerouac. Friedlander nevertheless succeeds in giving the theme of the American road trip his own very original twist, using the cars’ windscreens and dashboards to frame the familiar American landscape, as well as exploiting the reflections found in their wing and rear view mirrors. It is a simple starting point which results in complex and layered images that are typical for Friedlander’s visual language. He also has a sharp eye for the ironic detail. He makes free use of text on billboards and symbols on store signs to add further meaning to his work. His images are so layered that new information continues to surface with every glance, making America by Car a unique evocation of contemporary America.

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Car portraits

The New Cars 1964 is a much older series. Friedlander had been commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar to photograph all the new models of automobile introduced in 1964. Rather than placing them centrally and showing them to best advantage, Friedlander decided to set the cars in the most banal of locations, in front of a furniture store or in a scrap yard for instance. Exploiting reflections, available light and unusual perspectives, his cars are almost completely absorbed into the street scene. Although they were rejected at the time by the magazine’s editorial board on the grounds that the images were not attractive enough, the pictures were put away in a drawer and since forgotten. Friedlander however recently rediscovered this series. The New Cars 1964 has since become a special historical and social document and has in its own right become part of Friedlander’s impressive oeuvre.

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Fifty-year career

Lee Friedlander was born in the US in 1934. In a career extending across 5 decades Friedlander has maintained an obsessive focus on the portrayal of the American social landscape. His breakthrough in the eyes of the wider public came with the New Documents exhibition at the MoMA in 1967, where his work was presented alongside that of Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand. Friedlander accumulated numerous awards during his career, including the MacArthur Foundation Award and three Guggenheim Fellowships. He also published more than twenty books. His work has been shown at many venues around the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the MoMA in New York, San Francisco’s SFMOMA, the MAMM in Moscow and the National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen.”

Press release from the FOAM website

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Lee Friedlander. 'Cleveland, Ohio' 2009

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Lee Friedlander
Cleveland, Ohio
2009
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Montana' 2008

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Lee Friedlander
Montana
2008
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Montana' 2008

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Lee Friedlander
Montana
2008
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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“Mr. Friedlander took his black-and-white, square-format photographs entirely from the interior of standard rental cars – late-model Toyotas and Chevys, by the looks of them – on various road trips over the past 15 years. In these pictures our vast, diverse country is buffered by molded plastic dashboards and miniaturized in side-view mirrors…

Mr. Friedlander groups images by subject, not geography: monuments, churches, houses, factories, ice cream shops, plastic Santas, roadside memorials.

So “America by Car,”… is more of an exercise in typology, along the lines of Ed Ruscha’s “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.” But there’s nothing deadpan or straightforward about the way Mr. Friedlander composes his pictures. He knows that cars are essentially illusion factories – to wit: “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”

Some of the illusions on view here exploit the technology of the camera Mr. Friedlander has been using since the 1990s, the square-format Hasselblad Superwide (so named for its extra-wide-angle lens). The Superwide produces crisp and detail-packed images that are slightly exaggerated in perspective, giving the foreground – the car – a heightened immediacy…

Some of the photographs are dizzyingly complex, like one taken in Pennsylvania in 2007. The camera looks out through the passenger-side window, at a man whose feet appear to be perched on the door frame. He is standing in front of a trompe l’oeil mural of a train, which seems to be heading right at the car. In the side-view mirror you can see a woman approaching. It’s a bizarre pileup of early cinematic trickery (as in the Lumière Brothers), amateur photography and surveillance technology.

Mr. Friedlander’s love of such layering can be traced to Walker Evans and Eugène Atget. He also shares, in this series, Evans’s wry eye for signs of all kinds: the matter-of-fact “Bar” advertising a Montana watering hole, or the slightly more cryptic “ME RY RISTMAS” outside a service station in Texas [see image below]. He strikes semiotic gold at Mop’s Reaching the Hurting Ministry in Mississippi: “LIVE IN RELATIONSHIP ARE LIKE RENTAL CARS NO COMMITMENT.”

Cars distance people from one another, this series reminds us over and over. When Mr. Friedlander photographs people he knows – the photographer Richard Benson, or the legendary MoMA curator John Szarkowski (to whom the book is dedicated) – he remains in his seat, shooting through an open window. In just a few instances the subjects poke their heads inside, a gesture that seems transgressive in its intimacy…

Did he ever get out of the vehicle? Just once in this series, for a self-portrait. It’s the last picture, and it shows him leaning into the driver’s-side window, elbow propped on the door, left hand reaching for the steering wheel.

Maybe he was thinking of the last image in “The Americans” – a shot of Mr. Frank’s used Ford taken from the roadside, showing his wife and son huddled in the back seat. In Mr. Frank’s photograph the car is a protective cocoon. Mr. Friedlander seems to see it that way too, but from the inside out.”

Excerpts of an excellent review of “America by Car” by Karen Rosenberg published on The New York Times website on September 2, 2010.

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Lee Friedlander. 'Alaska' 2007

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Lee Friedlander
Alaska
2007
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Montana' 2008

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Lee Friedlander
Montana
2008
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'California' 2008

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Lee Friedlander
California
2008
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Lee Friedlander. 'Texas' 2006

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Lee Friedlander
Texas
2006
From the series America by Car, 1995-2009
Gelatin silver print
15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Foam
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T: + 31 20 5516500

Opening hours:
Daily from 10 am – 6 pm
Thu/Fri 10 am – 9 pm

Foam website

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24
Mar
13

Review: ‘Shrouds’ by Mike Reid at the Colour Factory Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 8th March – 30th March 2013

 

Mike Reid. 'Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA
Nd

 

 

“Any discovery changing the nature, or the destination of an object or phenomenon constitutes a Surrealist achievement. Already the automats are multiplying and dreaming… realism prunes trees, Surrealism prunes life.”

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J-A. Boiffard, Paul Ellard and Roger Vitrac, in La Revolution Surréaliste, December 1924, p. 2, quoted in Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: the rigour of imagination, Thames & Hudson, London, 1977, p. 161.

 

 

This is a strong exhibition of documentary photography by Mike Reid at the Colour Factory Gallery. Interesting idea; well seen formal photographs; good use of colour (brown, blue, silver, red and green shrouds); nice sized prints appropriate to the subject matter; and an excellent self published book to accompany the exhibition. This is just what it is – a solid exhibition of documentary photography.

Unfortunately the artist cannot leave it there. In his almost unintelligible artist statement (below), he tries to lever the concept of resurrection onto the work, meandering from Horus and Osiris through The Shroud of Turin, to Jewish Tachrichim (burial shrouds) and onto the commerce of Billabong and the politics of the burqa linking, very tenuously, the covering of Islamic women with the idea of these cars being “old bombs.”

Here I take issue with Reid’s conceptualisation of the word “shroud” vis a vis his photographs of covered cars. One of the definitions of shroud is “A cloth used to wrap a body for burial” but the more pertinent use of the word in relation to this work is “To shut off from sight; something that conceals, protects, or screens” from the Middle English schrud, garment. These are not abandoned, lifeless vehicles awaiting resurrection but loved vehicles that have been protected from the elements by their owners, wrapped and cocooned jewels that are in a state of hibernation. If they were unwanted they would have been abandoned by their owners to the elements, not protected beneath a concealing garment in a state of metamorphosis. The shrouding of the car acts like a Surrealist canvas, hinting at the structure underneath (the Cadillac, the Volkswagen, the Morris Minor) but allowing the viewer to discover the changing nature of the object.

All that was needed to accompany the exhibition and the book was something like the quotation at the top of the posting. Leave the rest up to the strength of the work and the viewer. They have the intelligence and imagination to work out what is going on without all the proselytising that only reveals the artist’s ultimate disconnection from the source. In other words, less is more. Nothing more, nothing less.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the Colour Factory Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Mike Reid. 'Toorak, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Toorak, Victoria
Nd

 

Mike Reid. 'South Fremantle, Western Australia' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
South Fremantle, Western Australia
Nd

 

Mike Reid. 'Richmond, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Richmond, Victoria
Nd

 

 

Shrouds, by Mike Reed is a collection of photographs of covered cars. His love of gleaning was inherited from his ‘rag and bone’ father who amassed a metal detritus found on the bicycle route home from the factory where he worked. This assortment was stockpiled in his father’s rusted sheds, which appeared like an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ to a youthful Mike.

“The car was draped with a plastic sheet in the back blocks of Surfers Paradise whilst seeking to photograph decay in the landscape….You start with one and then see another then… over time, the medley plays into a collection… patterns precipitate or idiosyncrasies evolve from within…This is the joy of “seeing”.”

“Within my category of covered cars I began to view these still loved but lifeless vehicles, as if a resurrection was about to take place… for the heavenly roads of restoration or hell.”

Mike equates the car covers to the burial garments adorning the dead in preparation for resurrection. Mike cites the ‘wrapping’ of objects found in the work of artists’ Christo, Jean Claude, Man Ray and Magritte as inspiration. This incredible accumulation of images spans over two decades and 6 countries. A small selection has been chosen for this exhibition and a larger range appears in his book to be launched at the opening of Shrouds.

Press release from the Colour Factory Gallery website

 

Mike Reid. 'Richmond, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Richmond, Victoria
Nd

 

Mike Reid. 'Macleod, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Macleod, Victoria
Nd

 

 

Shrouds

The resurrection of the dead is a fundamental and central doctrine of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Many religious critics have alleged that even Christ’s resurrection was borrowed from the accounts of Osiris, God of the underworld, and the best-known deity in all of ancient Egyptian history. As a life-death-rebirth deity, Horus, the Sun God, and Osiris became a reflection of the annual cycle of crop harvesting as well as reflecting people’s desires for a successful afterlife. The Masons, Illuminati, Priory De Sion, clandestine government groups, and others believed that on December 22, 2012, Osiris would be resurrected. Nothing happened on that world shattering day but Spam and candle sales most certainly went through the roof. Thus in preparation to meet thy maker, a shroud, burial sheet or winding-cloth, usually cotton or linen but with no pockets, is wrapped around a body after it has been ceremonially washed and readied for burial.

Certainly the most controversial and famous burial garment is the Shroud of Turin. It is now stored in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Northern Italy after the crusaders stole it and bought it first to France around 1204.

Many believe this 4.3 by 1.1m linen cloth of a rare herringbone weave covered the beaten and crucified body of Jesus of Nazareth when He was laid in a tomb prior to His resurrection. Is it really the cloth that wrapped His bloodstained body, or is it simply a medieval hoax? This has lead to intense scrutiny by forensic experts, scientists, chemists, immunologists, pathologists, believers, historians, and writers regarding the where, when, and how the bloodstain image on the shroud was created. C-14 Carbon dating carried out in 1988, dated the cloth between 1260 and 1390.

In Jewish religious traditions the Tachrichim (burial shrouds) are traditional simple white burial garments, containing no pockets, usually made from 100% pure linen.A shroud or sometimes a prayer shawl for a man, in which Jews are dressed by the Chevra Kadisha for burial after undergoing a taharah (purification ceremony). Burying the departed in a garment is considered a testimony of faith in the resurrection of the body (commentary of Shach). This is a fundamental principle of faith, one of the thirteen principles, which the Rambam enumerates as being essential to Jewish belief. More to the point today we have an insurrection, while not yet violent against the wearing of another kind of covering… the niqab or the burqa. European governments are escalating the introduction of laws on the basis that the face covering, along with ski masks and bikies helmets, encourages female subjugation, lack of communication, non-safety, isolation, female abuse, oppression of freedom and non-conformity to the western culture. In fact the Koran only dictates to modesty in dress. May I say it that Billabong could improve sales with the launch of a ‘Tri-Kini’ on the beaches next summer.

Meanwhile… “The 2012 ban in France is officially the second country in Europe, after Belgium, to introduce a full ban on a garment which immigration minister Eric Besson has called a “walking coffin.””1 Indeed Australian Liberal Cory Bernadi said, “The burqa is no longer simply the symbol of female repression and Islamic culture, it is now emerging as a disguise of bandits and n’er do wells.”2 More so now the government and police authorities in the Netherlands, a usually very tolerant nation, have become anxious regarding security worries that a terrorist could use one for concealment. Well my shrouded cars could be the same, as most do conceal “old bombs.”

The inspiration for my rag tag assortment evolved from the artistes Christo and Jeanne-Claude who have wrapped, covered whole buildings, bridges and landscapes. Other favourites of mine, Man Ray and Rene Magritte have objects and humans covered as well, specifically Magrittes’ Las Amants 1 & II (The Lovers)3 1928. A plastic explanation is that “love is blind” and that the mantles are symbolic to the idea that a devoted lover would identify his soul mate in any form, immortal love. Another interpretation of Magrittes’ shrouds is that the paintings symbolise his mothers’ death. Magritte, when only 14, discovered her lifeless body which was naked apart from her nightdress that had swathed up around her face.

I started recording these morphological images over 20 years ago. The first was draped with a plastic sheet in a paddock in the back blocks of Surfers Paradise while meandering aimlessly, seeking decay in the landscape.

With my wandering and collecting shots I realised I have inherited the trait from my father. In his latter years my father became a rag and bone man in order to supplement the low family income. A bicycle route from his employment at Laminex factory to home lay through the local hard rubbish dump. Copper wire, lead, iron, even an aerial practice bomb, military helmets, a stockless revolver and rifle, rusted tools… festooned from his bike and festooned from his gladstone bag. Two rusting sheds contained somewhat the ever-growing metal waste for selling or keeping… an Aladdins’ cave to a young boy, everyday re-discovering lifes’ discards care of the Dendy Street tip.

Within my category of covered cars I began to view these still loved but lifeless vehicles, as if a resurrection was about to take place… for the heavenly roads of restoration or hell… (a scrap yard)

Mike Reed, 2013

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1 The Telegraph, April 11 , 2011, Peter Allen In Paris
2 Cory Bernadi, SMH, May 6, 2011
3 “Las Amants” 1 is in the NGA collection, Canberra, NGA

 

Mike Reid. 'Brunswick East, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Brunswick East, Victoria
Nd

 

Mike Reid. 'Fairfield, Victoria' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Fairfield, Victoria
Nd

 

Man Ray. 'L'Enigme d'Isidore Ducasse' 1920, remade 1972

 

Man Ray (American, 1890-1976)
L’Enigme d’Isidore Ducasse
1920, remade 1972
Sewing machine, wool and string
355 x 605 x 335 mm

 

Mike Reid. 'Athens, Greece' Nd

 

Mike Reid (Australian)
Athens, Greece
Nd

 

 

Colour Factory Gallery
409-429 Gore Street
Fitzroy, Victoria 3056
Phone: +61 3 9419 8756

Mike Reed Photography website

Colour Factory Gallery website

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14
Mar
13

Photographs: Anonymous motor vehicle wizbang thingamabobs

March 2013

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

 

A friend sent these to me and I thought you might enjoy them. He supplied nothing of the vehicle type, country, year, photographer, etc… so I have undertaken some judicious research and surmised the rest. Somehow today’s cars just don’t have the joie de vivre of these earlier contraptions. Enjoy the inventiveness of man and his love of the vehicular device!

Information on any of the photographs would be appreciated.

Marcus

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Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

English amphibious car 1910s-20s

 

English amphibious car – by the look of the number plate, 1910s-20s

 

English half-track car c. 1910s-1920s?

 

English half-track car c. 1910s-1920s?

 

English, probably at a Butlins holiday camp or some such, 1940s-50s

 

English, probably at a Butlins holiday camp or some such, 1940s-50s by the look of the cars

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

French, 1960s?

 

Amphibious Riley 1931

 

Amphibious Riley
1931

 

 

For a private Africa expedition (London to Capetown) Riley needed a trick to cross the rivers on his journey. The inflatable pontoons did the job but the holding rack was so close to the wheels that steering was impossible when the pontoons where in place. The brand name of the car is Riley to, if you are wondering where Riley got the money for his expedition.

Text from the Amphiclopedia website [Online] Cited 12/03/2013 no longer available online

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

Miniature lorry, English c.1920s-30s?

 

Miniature lorry, English c.1920s-30s?

 

Ian Cameron. 'Ay-Ell' 1964

 

Ian Cameron
Ay-Ell
1964

 

 

16th January, 1964: “On the day after the official opening of the Tay Salmon Rod Fishing Season, Duncan McGregor catches an 8lb salmon from Ian Cameron’s amphibious car ‘Ay-Ell’.”

 

American delivery van 1910s-20s?

 

American delivery van 1910s-20s?

 

Motorised half-track ferry, French?

 

Motorised half-track ferry, French?

 

English tricycle ambulance, c. 1940

 

English tricycle ambulance, c. 1940

 

English boat car 1950s?

 

Those mad Englishmen – boat car 1950s?

 

Motorouta 1931

 

Motorouta
Swiss engineer Mr. Gerdes astride/inside his one-wheel motorcycle
1931

 

OMG, I’m in love, I want one now!

 

 

Across Europe on a Monowheel!

The 1920s, however, also saw the introduction of a few more ‘sensible’ motorised monowheels, which were really aimed as useable one-wheeled motorcycles. One of these was the mid-1920s Italian Motorouta that was actually produced in limited numbers. According to an advertisement of the time this machine had a 175 cc engine coupled to a 3-speed gearbox. It must have worked reasonably well, since a Swiss engineer by the name of Gerdes set of with a Motorouta machine for a rather grand trip from Switzerland to Spain in 1931. We know that he made it to Arles in the south of France, but whether he ever reached Spain is unclear.

Text from the Dark Roasted Blend: Monowheels website [Online] Cited 24/10/2020

 

English open-air tram c. 1930s-40s?

 

English open-air tram – class-ridden scene with the old workers houses, gas container behind, c. 1930s-40s?

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

American, 1910s-20s?

 

Anonymous motor vehicles, English 1930s?

 

Oh wow, love this!
English 1930s?

 

English tricar, 1920s-30s

 

English tricar, 1920s-30s

 

English tricar, two photographs of the same vehicle, 1920s-30s? Love the circular door… another three-wheeler!

 

Bond Minicar 3-Wheeler. In production 1948-1965 English

 

Bond Minicar 3-Wheeler
In production 1948-1965
English

 

Bond Minicar poster 1953

 

Bond Minicar poster 1953

 

 

At the end of the war cars were at a premium so engineer Lawrie Bond came up with a budget three-wheeler Britain could afford. The Bond Minicar was poverty motoring in the extreme: no roof, no doors, brakes only at the rear and precious little suspension. The 1-cylinder two-stroke 122cc motorcycle engine started life with just 5bhp but gave 40mph and a claimed 104mpg. Minicars gradually became more refined and powerful until production ended in 1966. The final Mark G had a roof, doors and hydraulic brakes (Wikipedia).

There is a minicar club in England and they hold rallies for all types of minicar, including my first ever car, the Bond Bug (see below). The Bond Bug had a 700cc Reliant engine sitting between the two seats, was made of fibreglass, and had fabric windows offering now protection to side impact at all. The car was so low, and you entered and exited by raising the roof of the car that was supported by a pneumatic strut. I had so much fun in that car, blew the engine on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall one trip away. Stuck for 3 days before friends drove down from London with a Transit van, took the doors off the back of that, heaved the Bug up into the back, and drove back to London!

 

Bond Bug 1970-1974 English

 

Bond Bug 1970-1974 English

 

Bond Bug 1970-1974 English

 

Bond Bug interior

 

Bond Bug
1970-1974
English

 

 

The Bond Bug is a small British two-seat, three-wheeled sports car built from 1970 to 1974. It is a wedge-shaped microcar, with a lift-up canopy and side screens instead of conventional doors. The engine is the front-mounted 700 cc (later uprated to 750 cc) Reliant light-alloy four-cylinder unit which protruded into the passenger cabin. In contrast to the image of three-wheeled Reliants as being slow, the Bond Bug was capable of some 78 mph (126 km/h), comparable to the Mini (72 mph) and the least powerful version of the Lotus Seven (80 mph). The car was, however, not cheap. At £629, it cost more than a basic 850 cc Mini which was at the time £620. Although it had a fairly short production run (1970-1974), it has a dedicated following today (Wikipedia).

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

English, c. 1910s-1920s?

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

British, 1940s?

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

What a classic!
English, c. 1930s?

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

Wow! No idea… looks American

 

'The James Samson Handyvan' 1933-1939

 

The James Samson Handyvan
1933-1939
In production 1929-1939
English

 

 

The James Handyvan first puttered onto the chaotic roads of Britain in 1929, and survived in production until 1939. Obviously motorcycle-based, the Handyvan offered an economical light goods vehicle for the small-business owner. Early Handyvans were powered by an engine of just 247cc and offered a payload capacity of 5cwt. In 1933 the engine was replaced with a larger V-Twin unit, as can be seen on this page, and the payload capacity was increased to 8cwt or 12cwt, depending on the model chosen. The later James vans were known as the “Samson Handyvan”.

Anonymous. “The James Handyvan, 1929-1939,” on the Old Classic Car website [Online] Cited 18/10/2020

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Anonymous motor vehicles

 

I have no idea (Italian?), but boy are they groovy!

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

Oh my, how beautiful!
English (because of the number plate!), 1930s?

 

Georges Monneret. 'Amphibious Vespa' 1952

 

Georges Monneret
Amphibious Vespa
1952

 

 

A Vespa travelling across the English Channel to London? Yes – 1952

“The Vespa also has a racing career behind it. In Europe back in the Fifties, it took part, often successfully, in regular motor cycle races (speed and off-road), as well as unusual sporting ventures. In 1952 the Frenchman Georges Monneret built an “amphibious Vespa” for the Paris-London race and successfully crossed the Channel on it.”

Text from the Vespa Official website [Online] Cited 12/03/2013 no longer available online

 

R.A. Lister & Company / Lister Blackstone. 'Lister Autotruck' c. 1930s-1940s?

 

R.A. Lister & Company / Lister Blackstone
Lister Autotruck
c. 1930s-1940s?
English, next to LNER railway train

 

 

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) was the second-largest of the “Big Four” railway companies created by the Railways Act 1921 in Britain. It existed from 1 January 1923 until nationalisation on 1 January 1948, when it was divided into the new British Railways’ Eastern Region, North Eastern Region and partially the Scottish Region (Wikipedia)

 

Dr John Archibald Purves. 'Dynosphere' 1932

 

Dr John Archibald Purves. 'Dynosphere' 1932

 

Dr John Archibald Purves
Dynosphere
1932
English

 

 

Two photographs of the same amazing contraption… fantastic!

“Another fascinating chapter in monowheel history was written by a chap called Dr John Archibald Purves from England, who seriously believed that one huge wheel encompassing five passengers was far more efficient than a car with four (smaller) wheels. In 1932, Purves designed the remarkable Dynosphere.

This monowheel differed from other designs in various ways. For one, it was wide enough to stand up by itself, without the need of continuous and rather tricky balancing. The outside of the wheel was part of the surface of a sphere, so that it did not touch the ground over its entire width and could be tilted sideways for steering. The outside consisted of a metal framework, so that the driver could look through the openings in the wheel frame.

Purves built a few different prototypes that were either petrol-driven or electrically powered. These machines were tested on the beach at Brean Sands and at Brooklands racing track. A short surviving film clip of the latter shows the difficulty in making a smooth ride – even at fairly constant speed – without the occupants gerbilling back and forth inside the wheel. It has even said to have knocked someone over during this test-run because of the inadequate steering system. The project was soon abandoned after that. The last known news from the project was a finished model of a five-seating Dynosphere with an enclosed glassed-in cabin, complete with bumpers and headlights.”

Text from the Dark Roasted Blend: Monowheels website [Online] Cited 24/10/2020

 

 

Popular Science Dynosphere

 

Anonymous motor vehicles

 

American, 1900s-10s?

 

English Gas bag vehicles c. 1940

 

English cars with gas bags used for fuel during the early days of the Second World War, c. 1940

 

 

Gas bag vehicles

What can be seen on the roof is the fuel tank of the vehicle – a balloon filled with uncompressed gas. Gas bag vehicles were built during World War One and (especially) World War Two in France, the Netherlands, Germany and England as an improvised solution to the shortage of gasoline. Apart from automobiles, buses and trucks were also equipped with the technology. The vehicles consumed ‘town gas’ or ‘street gas’, a by-product of the process of turning coal into cokes (which are used to make iron). The fuel used for gas bag vehicles during the World Wars was generally not compressed and had a much lower energy density than LPG or CNG. To replace one litre of gasoline, two to three cubic metres of gas was needed.

Private automobiles were equipped with a wooden framework which was fastened to the roof and the reinforced bumpers of the vehicle. It was hard to overlook a gas bag vehicle passing along. Witnesses to the vehicle passing by could easily see how much fuel was left: the gas bag was fully inflated at the start of a trip, and it deflated with every mile that was driven. The gas storage bags were made of silk or other fabrics, soaked in rubber (Zodiac was one of the manufacturers). These bags were (and are) much cheaper and easier to build than metal tanks. They could also be repaired in a similar way to bicycle tyres. The bag was anchored to the roof using rings and straps. Some gas bag vehicles could operate alternatively on gas or gasoline. Switching between the two options could be controlled from inside the vehicle.

Kris De Decker. “Gas Bag Vehicles,” on the Low-tech magazine website [Online] Cited 18/10/2020

 

 

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26
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection’ at The Arts Décoratifs Museum, Paris

Exhibition dates: 28th April – 28th August 2011

 

Many thankx to The Arts Décoratifs Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the images for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”, 1930

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”
1930
Ralph Lauren collection
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The notion of line in a car echoes that of the perfectly harmonious line of trajectory. The design is never far from this line, even in those coachworks designed without drawing boards, of which some of the most marvelous examples are seen here. It is interesting to see that in the French language at least, cars have taken on board the concept of ligne (or “line”), a word with many meanings. Yet the term ligne, taken in the sense that it is used nowadays in reference to coachwork, is classified by French lexicographer Littré within the sphere of fine art, and defined by him as: “the general effect produced by the coming together and combination of different parties of either a natural object or a composition.” The natural development of language thus shows us the relationship between cars and fine art.

.
Excerpt from the catalog, Editions Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris 2011

 

 

In 1970, Les Arts Décoratifs presented a selection of competition cars, “Bolides Design.” To compile the exhibition, a special jury was assembled, featuring designers Joe Colombo, Roger Tallon and Pio Manzu, and the artists Jean-Paul Riopelle, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely, as well as Robert Delpire and François Mathey. The jury chose the models with the idea of the car as a design object, a work of art, showing that “art and technique, each at their own level, are the expression of man and his relationship with design.”

The Ralph Lauren collection can be seen from the same perspective. Patiently assembled over several decades by the fashion designer in a quest for speed and performance, it includes some of the most extraordinary jewels in the crown of European automobile history, with beauty as its common denominator.

Within the collection are some of the most elegant and innovative cars in automotive history, from the “Blower” Bentley (1929), the Ferrari 250 GTO (1962), the famous Mercedes 300 SL (1955) and the unforgettable Jaguar “D type,” whose shark fin blazed a triumphant trail at Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957. But the grand tourer, the Bugatti Atlantic (1938) of which only four models were produced, represents the ultimate in luxury while showcasing the evolution of styles and techniques on the road. Each of these exceptional vehicles was designed as a masterpiece blending technological innovation and boldness of style.

For its first presentation in Europe, the Ralph Lauren collection will be put on display by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who has opted for an intimate visual approach as these vehicles stand out both for their overall design and detail, as well as for bodywork, chassis and engines.

The kinetic and sound of the vehicles will be reproduced by means of several films and recordings. A seminar on automobile design will also be held during the exhibition.

Press release from The Arts Décoratifs Museum website

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”, 1930

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”
1930
Ralph Lauren collection
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Chassis number SSK 36038, currently owned by Ralph Lauren, remained unsold by the Mercedes-Benz factory in 1928, but was then sent out to Japan in 1930, before being brought back to Europe. This car was put together by the young British coach builder, Willy White, based on a design suggested by its aristocratic owner-cum-industrialist, Count Carlo Felice Trossi, himself a racing driver. The SSK, the archetypal Mercedes of the 1920s, built on a short chassis, is dominated by a colossal hood with a trio of exhaust pipes emerging from each side – a hood encompassing over half the car’s length with a radiator projecting out front as a windbreak. Its flamboyant rear end, dramatically tapered, adds a touch of civility to this extraordinary model, contrasting with the hieratic image of its front end. The supercharging gives the Mercedes SSK its fiery temperament, as well as the legendary noise of its seven litre straight 6 cylinder engine producing 300 CV and enabling a flat-out speed of 235kph!

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic, 1938

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic, 1938

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic
1938
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

According to Paul Bracq, “the Atlantic is a monument in the history of French coach building! More than any other car, it expresses a French-Italian look. An incredible sense of lightness is given off by this sculpture.” Powered by a straight 8 cylinder engine fitted with twin overhead camshafts and a compressor, this beauty is also incredibly fast, capable of reaching 200 kph. As the aluminium alloy used for the coachwork did not lend itself to shaping and soldering, Jean Bugatti was obliged to make the wings and roof in two parts and then assemble them with rivets. His talent lay precisely in the art of transforming this inconvenient technique into a stylistic advantage. Power and speed are suggested by the doors which are cut out of the roof and the ellipsoidal windows reminiscent of airplanes. Chassis number 57591 was the last of the four examples originally produced, a masterpiece embodying sport and luxury at their height – in short, the automobile exception.

 

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia, 1938

 

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia
1938
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

This racing model fitted out with a straight 8 cylinder 2.9 litre engine with twin overhead camshafts supercharged by two compressors is equipped with fully independent suspension and a four speed rear transaxle. The whole thing is perfectly balanced, resulting in the most extraordinary roadholding. The hydraulic brakes are an additional bonus, enabling it to outclass its rivals at over 185 kph. The Turin factory called upon Carrozzeria Touring to design a small series of four two-seater roadsters intended to take part in the 1938 Mille Miglia, the first example of which is the car exhibited here. Driven by the Pintacuda-Mambelli team, the car came in an incredible second under the number 142. The tear drop shaped wings add the final touch to this extraordinary car which is considered to be one of the most prestigious pre-War Grand Touring Alfa Romeos.

 

Ferrari 375 Plus, 1954

 

Ferrari 375 Plus
1954
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The Ferrari known as the 375 Plus was an extrapolation of the Type 375 MM, a model powered by a V12 engine with three carburettors, a gearbox with four speeds plus reverse that increased its engine size to nearly 5 litres, giving it more power and enabling it to reach 340 CV, and attain 250 kph. Because Ferrari did not have its own design department, the 375 Plus, an absolute masterpiece, was created by highly qualified, talented artisans under the guidance of Pinin Farina, Ferrari’s official coach builder. Only five examples of the Type 375 Plus were made, including a spyder version which won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1954. Ralph Lauren’s car, chassis number 0398 AM – the last of the series – left the factory in 1954 and had a relatively illustrious career in Argentina, often driven by Valiente.

 

Jaguar XKD, 1955

 

Jaguar XKD
1955
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

In order to find a worthy successor to the brilliant Jaguar Type XKC, winner on two occasions of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the aeronautic aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer came up with a non-conformist vehicle. The D-Type has a long hood with no radiator grille, opening away from the block and a slender, extremely graceful rear, easily recognisable thanks to the highly original fin that extends the driver’s head-rest, providing greater stability at high speeds. With the classic straight 6 cylinder 3.4 litre engine, the D-Type, built on a monocoque structure, also has disk brakes. The “long-nosed” version (only 10 examples of which left the factory, including Ralph Lauren’s 505/601) gained an additional 15 kph at maximum speed, pushing it to 260 kph. No other car from the 1950s embodies speed better than this Jaguar D, with three consecutive victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1955 and 1957 and another at Nurburgring in 1956. It was the most successful racing car of its generation.

 

Jaguar XKSS, 1958

 

Jaguar XKSS
1958
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Following on from Jaguar’s magnificent victories in the 1955 and 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours, demand from its enthusiastic clients was such that the company decided to make a road version of the XKD (straight 6 cylinder 3.4 litre engine with a 250 CV output capable of propelling the car to nearly 250 kph) which was named the XKSS. Principally aimed at the American market, it differed from the racing model in having a windscreen, a convertible roof, bumpers and a more civilised interior, and the famous fin was removed. Only 16 examples were constructed between January and February 1957, and a further two examples of the D-Type were transformed by the factory in 1958. Ralph Lauren’s car is one of these, created from the XKD 533 in 1956. It participated in the Six Heures du Forez in 1957, driven by Monnoyeur and Dupuy, finishing 7th, behind a fleet of Jaguar Ds which took the three first places.

 

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, 1958

 

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
1958
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The 250 Testa Rossa (red head) owes its name to the red camshaft covers of its V12 3 litre engine. Made by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, adapted from a design by Pinin Farina introducing a torpedo shaped body, the car had a headrest that stuck out above the bodywork and integrated headlights behind protruding Plexiglas protection. The very particular line of this vehicle proved to be primarily functional, rather than aesthetic. Indeed, the originality of the pontoon fenders enabled the wheels to remain partially uncovered, to allow for a sufficient supply of cold air to the drum brakes. Equipped with a light body that allowed it to attain 270 kph, its 300 CV engine carried it to victory on numerous occasions, including in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1958, 1960 and 1961. Ralph Lauren’s car is the 14th of 34 similar examples produced by Ferrari.

 

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, 1960

 

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB
1960
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

While the name 250 GT appeared in the Maranello catalog in 1955, the 1959 Paris Motor Show presented a short chassis Berlinetta version, with a wheelbase 20 cms shorter than other versions of the line – a thoroughbred equipped for the road, with aluminium coachwork designed by Pinin Farina and made in the Scaglietti workshops in Modena. Compared to the grand tourer version, intended for road use, the racing version was devoid of all luxury interior trimmings and bumpers, but equipped with disk brakes and a 280 CV engine that enabled this flagship model to masterfully dominate the legendary Tour de France automobile for three consecutive seasons (1960-1962) and the GT category of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Its sensual line, unequalled handling and performance (250kph), and list of victories, all combined to make the short chassis 250 GT Berlinetta one of Ferrari’s most popular models. Ralph Lauren’s car was the 31st example to leave the factory out of the 165 produced.

 

Ferrari 250 GTO, 1962

 

Ferrari 250 GTO
1962
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Designed in the utmost secrecy, the 250 GTO is considered by aficionados today to be the quintessential vintage Ferrari model, both technically and aesthetically, embodying one of the most famous and most expensive sports cars of all time. This Grand Tourer, of which only 39 examples were produced, clocked up an impressive list of victories, including the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964, thanks to its V12 300 CV engine situated up front, but also because of the lightness of its aluminium body, enabling it to attain 280 kph flat out! With its Scaglietti coachwork and its long hood, stocky cockpit and truncated rear, it symbolised the Grand Tourer par excellence. Ralph Lauren’s car was the 21st out of 36 Series I GTOs produced, and won many races driven by Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, Roger Penske, Augie Pabst and Richie Ginther.

 

 

The Arts Décoratifs Museum
107 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris
Phone: +33 01 44 55 57 50

Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

The Arts Décoratifs Museum website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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