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.
North beach, San Francisco, CA
I love my rentacar -the Kia Optima!
|Chevy Volt, Albuerquerque, NM|
2012 Chevrolet Camaro, Tempe, AZ
Beyond Mercedes CLS 550
San Francisco, CA
|Chevrolet Volt, London, UK|