Sunday, 18 December 2016

Not a tow-away zone

Langdon Clay was only twenty-two when he started to capture parked cars at night though the one hundred and fifteen wonderful photos in these pages took two years from 1974 to 1976. He hit on a very simple format, profiles of parked cars with a backdrop of buildings and do it all at night. The darkness creates a sort of natural frame for the compositions and throws up colors of the vehicles and frequently some dazzling effects from store windows, neon signs, entrances and lit windows.

The photos are really two images cleverly combined as one, the cars  as the main focal point but then the eye catches a bit of street furniture and then starts to explore the background textures and shapes of windows, doorways, vegetation and lights. Occasionally a photo captures both elements together beautifully like the dirty brown Chevrolet Impala on page fifty-six which blends wonderfully into the ochre background of a restaurant. Many of the vehicles have seen better days, frequently with dents and tape covered damage but this helps to tie them into the raw surroundings of street detritus.

The usual excellent Steidl book production brings out the best in these remarkable photos, the large landscape size allows them to be 12.5 by 8.5 inches and printed with a 175 screen. I have a minor criticism though, the brief captions on two pages at the back of the book should have been printed below their relevant photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment