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Friday, 08 February 2013


I wonder if this 2003 picture might lift the spirit a little. I liked the concern shown by his friends for the elderly but adventurous motorist, broken down in an iconic landscape.


(this time with proper image sizes....that'll teach me to read better!)

I love photographing cars because it combines my two passions - old cameras and classic cars. It's not only the "whole car" shots, but also the detailed shots isolating one element or form of the vehicle.

A very British car shot with a very Russian camera (Iskra):
Jaguar Mk V

Another old British car, this one shot with an old East German (Certo Six):

What remains of another British car, this time shot with a British camera (Agifold):

And finally, my very own French (mainly plastic) baby, shot with a very much all metal Japanese Fujica G690BL:
Renault Alpine A310 V6

Hmm, reviewing this post, I think I need to get myself a French camera some time, something maybe like a Telka!

Not so much of cars, but for a couple of years I did a project shooting almost exclusively from within cars. The whole series is in my website here .

I think this qualifies as quirky.
I also suspect some photoshopping was involved ;-)

Image in comments:
A yearly event in my home town is an automotive gathering known as Cruisin' Grand. The event takes place along Grand Avenue in downtown Escondido, California every Friday evening from April to September. Each week has a theme, hot rods, Packards, or dragsters. However, there are also many regular enthusiasts who always show up with their cars. For many, Cruisin’ Grand is the social event of the week.
Some years I’ve gone once or twice and others I’ve gone every week. Going each week allowed me to learn the rhythm of the event, the best locations and times to shoot the cars and has challenged me to find interesting compositions. I have also only shot the event with film. I don’t think I have any digital photos of the event.

Hello Mike,

I have tried to post a comment yesterday, but may have made a mistake (or you considered my comment inappropriate).

I am definitely not a car fan, but I have really become fond of reflections and distortions on car bodies. Since over a year I am pursuing this photography theme and now I can hardly pass a car without searching for special reflections. One example is shown here, if you want, you can have a look at some of these compositions on my gallery or my blog.

All the best, Florian.


I like to appreciate cars as works of art. The Pininfarina studio being a personal favorite. Style just seems to be disappearing as the focus groups, regulators and grey interiors take over.

Some thoughts.

As with photographing any single-object subject, you can get a simple, strong (well, strong-enough to be worth snapping, perhaps) image by placing the subject in a context which either resonates with the qualities of the subject, or contrasts against them. Cars as objects embody many ideals: movement and speed, industry, technological prowess, cultural ideals, the shifting fashions of the day, and so forth. So, pick any of those qualities, and as soon soon as you find a car in a context which either fits perfectly or contrasts noticeably, well - there's your photo.

For instance:

Not many of THESE in Colorado.
A quintessential 1960s British car on a particularly American street in Leadville, Colorado. (contrast)


Firetruck (retired)
A sports car designed for graceful and high-speed motion, or a firetruck designed for action and reliability, both frozen and made stationary - to a greater or lesser extent - by nature. (contrast)

Some Indian-manufactured cars, originally designed by Brits a long time ago, in front of Indian government buildings in New Delhi, also designed by a Brit, a long time ago. (resonance)

Old and loved

A tired old car and a tired old dog (resonance)

Anyway, I'm sure you get the idea - an obvious point to make in these hallowed halls, I'm sure! I think that's probably all the car photos I've ever taken, now I come to think of it.

I don't know if this counts, but I live in Ann Arbor and every year I go to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (in January). It's easily the highlight of my year. I'm a car guy --- you and I have quite similar views on cars --- but AA isn't a place where I see beautiful or interesting cars on the street. So I go to the show, on Tuesday morning, when it's really empty, and take hundreds of shots of the cars. I spend less time looking at them than photographing them. Here's one of my favorite cars from this year's show, the Acura NSX concept:

They also had a great display of microcars in the basement. Impossible to name a favorite, but here's the 1965 Peel P-50.

It was an actual, legal street car. Makes today's Fiat 500 look extravagant.
I certainly don't publish these. But I do add my favorites to my computer desktop wallpaper file so that I get to remember my favorite cars from the last 15 years of car shows. It's the one day a year that is for me alone and makes living here in Michigan a little bit better.

Might want to check out this site. Run by a guy I went to school with. He does large prints (36"x73") for hotels and such.


Have I got a story for you! This is more a photograph of a car rather than car photography. Back in 2007 I got a new Jetta GLI and thought that it would make a good picture as a silhouette, on the beach, beside a lifeguard tower. So within hours of getting the keys I find myself heading to the local beach to get the picture.

Once I get to the beach I head through the parking lot and start driving on the sand. I'm thinking that the sand is firmer than I thought and the going is easy but Murphy's Law being Murphy's Law, as soon as that thought goes through my mind, the front end of my Jetta droops and my forward momentum just stops. Trying in vain to unstick myself I go nowhere fast and the result is my Jetta is highsided on it's belly pan, the tires aren't doing much of anything.

Tried digging it out but got nowhere fast and had to concede defeat. While waiting for a towtruck to show up I took this picture. You can imagine the shot I was going for but I do like this one a lot, makes me laugh thinking of how zany an idea it was.

Mike, if you like really old cars you might enjoy some of the ones that came for the "New London, MN to New Brighton Antique Car Run 2012" (a yearly event that takes place over a 3 day period starting in New London Minnesota and following a route that ends in suburban Twin Cities). A lot of Oil Dry is used in the parking lots at the end of the run.

I can't resist shooting old cars--there are lots of them in Wyoming. This is one of my favorites, even though it's a bad scan of an old slide. Sorry--I can't figure out how to make the picture show up here in the comment: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdriese/488144285/in/set-72157602122591796/

One of the nice things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is the number of survivor cars still on the road. I like taking walks around the city and photographing them, like this old Barracuda.
Here are some more car photos if your are interested.

Hmm… my photo appears square. I probably picked the wrong size to display and TypePad cuts it down or something. Oh, well…

I think airplanes are tons more interesting.

A car grave yard in Kansas

I have a hard time photographing cars. They're the wrong texture to fit into the environment nicely. When I do include cars in my photos, it's normally just the lights. Coplights in particular--I'm the only person I know who makes a beeline for flashing blue lights.






I also have lots of photos of normal scenes overlaid with wild corkscrews of headlights from where I grabbed the tripod and hoofed it to the safety of the shoulder, median, or sidewalk.

I've always been a car guy and when I was 16 I enjoyed taking photos of my Mustang and later my old Datsun. I gave it up though thinking it was somewhat childish to waste film on the regular cars I owned. In the past five years I've realized that I still recall the cars that I've owned at the given times of the significant events in my life as well as the lives of my family, and those cars created a lasting connection to those events for me. I'm photographing my cars again and I recommend everyone do so as well.

I've found it's pretty easy to take a decent photo of my car in a beautiful setting while traveling on vacation. I just need to quickly spot the location when I park my car to go for a hike or visit a shop, and then photograph my car when as we return to it. Easy. My wife has found my photos of our cars to be interesting enough to include a few in her scrapbooks. My shot of Old Faithful Lodge with my wife's car in the foreground "proves" we were there. My shot of my car parked at the side of Hwy 6 at Loveland Pass reminds me of the drive down to A-Basin being one of my favorite of all time. My shots of my local MG car shows and then of my Midget in my driveway make me happy.

If only I had taken more photos of my Integra while my wife and I were on our honeymoon.

To be honest, I've never been a real big fan of car photographs, until I saw Huntington Witherill's "Chariots of Desire" portfolio. It's kind of car-photography-meets-abstract-photography.


Here's a whimsical take on cars and man's best friend. This was shot on the corner of Melrose and Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. I have a treasure trove of shots like this, not just because I love cool cars but also because they're easier to find in a mild, dry climate. Extra points to anyone who can identify the vehicle in question.

@Leslie Ash - your featured comment did indeed bring back a lot of memories for me. I shot a lot of stuff in Scotland in the late 60's early seventies when my father was Clerk of the Course for the RAC and the Scottish rally. Waiting in a ditch in the middle of nowhere in Cairn Edward forest for Roger Clark or Bjorn Waldegard to scream past in a hail of pebbles, spray, dust or whatever. Pentax with 50mm and Tri-x - nothing else.The long nights and transfers between stages - great times - I miss them.

Sometimes it's not so much the car but its occupant... Ellsworth, Maine on a Saturday morning..

Sure, sometimes with a somewhat different perspective than even the great work above.
Like this image:

Which is from this SoFoBoMo project book:

Sadly, Dave Scotney (seen on p22) has since passed away. He was a very good man.

I like photographing old things ...
I believe the first car is a 1946 Packard Clipper Deluxe, but I do not know the details on the trucks.

A guy named Stuart Baxter on Flickr has a stunning collection of cars photos.

His photo stream can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrmean/

I've followed him for years and am never disappointed.

@ Mike: "A couple of days ago I was Frankenstein"

Mike, Frankenstein was the creator. You were......

The Creature! [ : )

Mike, Car photography is why we have cameras on cellphones. Spur of the moment pics of cool cars in parking lots! BugeyeSprite

I can't say that I shoot cars, per se. But I have taken a few shots with cars as compositional elements that I enjoy. I do enjoy cars, but I feel like if I just shoot them straight, I'm doing the same thing that any other photographer would do. Not that I'm opposed to just capturing the beauty of a car as well, from time to time.


Tail cone



Parking reflection

Back in 2006, I took this picture with a brand new Canon SD630 , my very first camera ever with which I was trying to learn photography. I found the car outside a Tim Horton's (everything in Canada is either in, near or across from a Tim Hortons).

I knew when I was taking the picture that those power cables would bug me forever but I was still so new to photography that I had no ideas whatsover about how else I could frame or set up the picture.

In answer to your headline question: They shoot horses, don't they?

My little town has Cruise Nights on Fridays in the Summer. Lots of classic cars, mostly American. I always bring a camera when I stroll the downtown, not just to catch the cars to also to try to catch the interaction between the cars and the people.

Checking out the V-dub

Chevrolet Corvette, Somerville Cruise Night

It all starts like this.

I guess I'm not the only one who was amused to see that Amazon was encouraging people to have an audiobook made of Lee Friedlander's "America by Car"......

This one might qualify as quirky car picture, although I don't go out of my way to photograph automobiles.

Taken in Warsaw in January 2012. Can't remember the film, lens was Canon FD 50mm f/1.4. It's a Fiat or Lada under the cover.

I love photographing cars. In fact I am thinking of putting together a bit of a project this summer shooting classic cars.

One of my favourite photos:

My father got me into motorsports from a very young age. He took us to Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, and the Meadowlands (back in the CART days). I took up photography using his Kowa Model E at the races.

I haven't been to a race, or car show in a while, but I still photograph interesting cars when I come across them. Unfortunately I don't have any online.

Probably the first book of photographs I ever read was Jesse Alexander's "At Speed". I still consider him to be my favorite motorsports photographer. At his website you'll also find portraits (including famous photographers), travel, and bird photography.

Ford F-100

shooting cars (by camera ;)) is quite rewarding.
Regardless if they are vintage or new, it is just fun for me to be part of some racing event and bring back some pictures.
Or simply catch a moment of design history along the way.

Alfa Romeo Montreal

Porsche 911 Carrera

Porsche 911 GT3

Fiat 500 Abarth

Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger (Porsche based)

Mike: I mostly shoot cars in their urban environment, some of them can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99464210@N00/sets/72157603432407623/

This is one of my favorites:
classic x 2

I like to show cars in context and with people. These are from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS).

I've always wanted a Nash Metropolitan. Only because I thought it would make me feel like I'm in a cartoon while driving it. They never fail to make me smile when I see one!

I like shooting old cars, particularly 1930s to 1950s. On APS-C, 28mm works best. But I feel very sad when I see how many old American classics are 'customised' - i.e. ruined.

Styling-wise, some cars instantly 'work'. Others instantly don't. You can see at a glance. In Detroit, in the 1950s people obviously had an 'eye' for balance and coherence. By the 1970s that had gone. In the 1930s-1950s, you can see that Bill Lyons of Jaguar could get proportions just 'right'. Some of the coachbuilt bodies on Rolls Royces and Bentleys of the period look like amateur botch-ups by comparison. Even in style-conscious Italy there have been designs which are totally baffling - how they got past any management scrutiny defies imagination. Some Japanese cars today look as if someone has decided that they need something more 'vibrant' and 'innovative', more 'edgy'. The results look like a committee job by first-year art students. Just look at the backside of a Nissan Leaf hybrid... Even Honda have fallen into this trap occasionally.

My favourite styling jobs are two cars I owned in my youth - the 1956 Sunbean (= Sunbeam-Talbot) Mk III, and the Mk II Ford Zephyr.

Late 1950s Chryslers combine elegance with a bit of Detroit glamour.

There is no such thing as an ugly Packard. (My father ran a right-hand-drive 1937 Packard 120 'woodie' - I've got some b/w negs of that somewhere ...)


Couldn't resist contributing to a 100+comment post. This one is about fog lights.

Not the best photo in the shoot, but the only one with ghosting flares ("orb" atop hood; "funnel", right foreground) in it!

Although I never had any particular interest in cars, I started shooting cars during my road trips in southwest America. They are just all over the place. They are a part of American culture. And these old classic cars are just beautiful...


I find the photographs at www.speedhunters.com are always of a high standard. Their stories are always fascinating too.

You may enjoy this: http://www.automotivology.blogspot.ca/

Oh, and if you are ever in Western NC, be sure to visit Dale Walksler's Wheels Through Time Museum. It's mostly motorcycles, but there are some sweet cars as well. The museum's priority is to get the old machines running, and as you walk through the museum you'll often hear one of them being started, and sometimes, as the burnout marks on the concrete floor attest, run vigorously. And instead of plastic surgery, the cars and bike wear their patina of time with pride.

Here, for example, is a very rare 1949 Veritas that Dale just got running that morning. He promptly drove it the fairgrounds down the street to show it off to fellow gearheads.

Dale Walksler's 1949 Veritas

Dale Walksler's 1949 Veritas

Dale Walksler's 1949 Veritas

Dale Walksler's 1949 Veritas

Hi Mike,

I've enjoyed both cars and photography for decades but just on an amateur basis, and have ended up with a few images that I enjoy for one reason or another.

I don't have an on-line folder of images to which I could link, but there is a web site with some of my images that I think you you might enjoy. For a few years I have been doing photography on a volunteer basis for a group that does an annual car show as a fund-raiser for the Children's Library in the city where I live, and my images are used for their web site, which is at:


One of the shots that they use of which I am particularly fond is of a pristine XK-120 Jaguar alongside what is said to be Bruce McLaren's personal street conversion of a McLaren Mark 6. Almost everything was beyond my control when I took the image, and it is never going to win any art prizes, but I really enjoy the image of these two cars side by side.

With best wishes,
- Tom -


I forgot to mention in my previous note that other images appear when you click on any of the tabs such as "Tickets" or "Rules"

With best wishes,
- Tom -

Here are some car shots I did a few years back...




Sorry to post so late Mike. I hope you have been suitably cheered up. The cars of Cuba are enough to bring a smile to anyone's face. Here's my blog entry with photos of old Cuban cars: http://magikrealism.com/2012/11/28/cuba-cars/

Over the years, I've taken many a car photo. However the faction of them that I like enough to let other people see is very small. In my mind the photos that I like are blend of technical skill, artistic skill (not that I entirely understand how to archive it) and uniqueness.

My "go to" trick to increase uniqueness is motion blur, normally applied thickly like a kid with a set of crayons:
Mobile Reflection

This set of on Flickr represents that very faction of photos I like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettdickson/sets/72157603872141759/with/7526367358/.

I have a few of mine on my seldom used flickr page.



I have about 100 on my FB page.


Check 'em ouy if your still on a car bender.

Don't forget Raghubir Singh's A Way Into India, his tribute to the Ambassador and its place in Indian culture: http://www.amazon.com/Way-Into-India-Raghubir-Singh/dp/0714842117

Wow, how do add to the dialog here? Cars as objects of art, cars as personal expression, cars as social and cultural artifacts. The automobile is so embedded in our history and culture that the reasons we photograph them should easily be a thesis in and of itself.

For me personally, some of the most beautiful photographs I've seen have been of automobiles. The endless ways we interpret them in photography fascinates me. Certainly it has been a great subject to learn photography with. Composition and color in particular are so well explored by shooting cars, don't you think?

Great subject, and many great photos and comments shared here!

I have a favorite, Michael Alan Ross (a very good friend). Check out his web site: http://www.michaelalanross.com/ He is also going to have something on www.jaylenosgarage.com in a couple of days

How about THE car (truck) from the movie "Cars", shot in Galena, Kansas?


I'm a little late to comment on this topic (apologies Mike) but I shoot cars, mostly classic cars and sometimes old motorcycles too. I guess I've always had a thing for cars of the 50s-70s and more recently 20s-40s so I find them enjoyable to shoot and learn more about.

Here's a recent fave of mine: a 1936 Ford with a Cadillac in the background.

More can be found at my website: www.tony-starr.com

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