Car Sick

I love taking photos from car windows. They’re the sort of views people don’t give much thought to and so rarely think to photograph. Yet, many of us are in our cars for a substantial part of our day, and much of what we see is mediated through the car window.

I’m intending to publish a book of photographs out of car windows. I’ve begun the process of winnowing down what works and what doesn’t. Like all photography grouping, much of it is dependent on context and sequencing. Narrative focus is what separates good work from bad.

The initial question, before questions of context, is the innate quality of the photo itself – does it stand on its own in terms of form and/or content? This leads to issues of the larger connective theme of the work – is it content i.e. all photos taken out of car windows, or is it formal similarity i.e. a certain ‘look,’ or aesthetic? My sense is it should be both.

With that in mind, here are a few in no specific order or context. I see them as having the potential to anchor a large narrative that extends the subject both in content and formal coherence.

11 thoughts on “Car Sick

  1. Dominique Pierre-Nina

    Put me down for one of your books. I love the the 13th shot and the second last shot,

    If I can I will order them as prints as well. Looking forward to it.

    PS check your mail box as something is on it’s way to you.

    Thanks,

    Dominique

    Reply
  2. Dogman

    Unfortunately for you, Lee Friedlander stole your idea and published “America by Car” a few years back. Still, your pictures are excellent.

    Reply
  3. Rob Campbell

    Certainly seems that most such books do tend to kinda shatter the concept of the “American Dream” – or at least the dream I suppose many foreigners have dreamed of the place. I think that after WW2 a lot of European women thought becoming GI brides was going to translate their lives into Hollywood glamour. Many of the movies folks got to see were, seen through today’s eyes, pure moral-building propaganda.

    A thing I noticed when driving through France was that, when using the non-autoroutes, just the old N roads, the US ribbon development concept has spread there in quite a few towns: lots of similar buildings selling cars, swimming pools, farming equipment, hardware and so forth, all stacked side by side with little to be seen beyond. A main road as rural shop window.

    But it makes sense: if you want something, you can at least find a place to park.

    Rob

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  4. Archiver

    I take a lot of car window images, but most of them stay unposted. Mostly, it’s for me to document what is going on when I’m out somewhere, but occasionally I’ll see something cool. There are a number of car window photos in the Dennis Hopper book 1961-1967, some of which use the windscreen as a framing device.

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