Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chip Lord's NEW CARS 2012 project. And Lee Friedlander

New Cars, 2012

New Cars, 2012 was inspired by Lee Friedlander’s project titled The New Cars, 1964. I heard about it but only knew the title and thought it was a good idea to revisit in 2012, a time in which the values driving car design have changed against the backdrop of climate change.  I began shooting pictures with only the title in mind but when I researched Friedlander’s book, (I bought it on Amazon) I realized that he had been commissioned to photograph the new car models for a magazine – Harpers Bazaar - that ultimately rejected his pictures. 

I kept shooting, having given myself a different set of criteria. In California, where I live, it is easy to recognize a new car because the state sends the license plate to the new owner about six weeks after purchase. New cars have “paper plates”.  Ultimately the pictures collected here are a random selection of 2012 models, all shot during the year 2012. In the documentary tradition, I shot as I travelled, realizing that the backgrounds have meaning equal to the subjects.  Some of these pictures were taken with my iPhone and others with a Samsung TL 500, which looks a lot like the Leica that Friedlander most likely used in 1964.  I looked for models and context that would represent the transition moment we are living in – a time when design and style still hold sway over new car buyers, but efficiency and performance mean miles per gallon instead of horsepower for many new buyers.

So in the year in which CO2 in the atmosphere reached 392.92 parts per million, the highest amount on record, I present these images of a changing automotive object and its surrounding culture.

                                                                                                                                  --Chip Lord

Acura TSX
North beach, San Francisco, CA

I love my rentacar -the Kia Optima!
Windsor, CT

Chevy Volt, Albuerquerque, NM

2012 Chevrolet Camaro, Tempe, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ

Beyond Mercedes CLS 550
San Francisco, CA

Two Smart
Rome, Italy
Chevrolet Volt, London, UK

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