1946 Cadillac, Vashon Island, Washington 2001
This group of abstract photographs are close-ups of "maturing" vehicles; rust patterns, peeling and sanded paint, and the reflection of light off of beat up cars and trucks. I first began this series of "rustscapes" in 1976 when I became enthralled with the hood of a yellow '55 Thunderbird in an auto salvage yard I came across in Center Conway, New Hampshire. They have become a friendly obsession for me since that time, distilling to the point where I now entitle them as I photograph them. I find that by letting my eye wander over the surfaces of these vehicles, the symbol-making capacity of my psyche takes over and I find mythological landscapes emerge as "completed canvases." While most of these vehicles have long since lost their ability to transport in the physical world, they manage to continue to "transport" my imagination on a regular basis. Every couple of years I add new images to the series which now numbers close to 150. This body of work seems to serve as a Rorschach test for me, providing me with ongoing peeks into the window of my unconscious.
These "rustscapes" demonstrate to me, time and time again, how our eyes take in visual information and our brains immediately want to turn that information into something recognizable and familiar. It is like looking at cloud formations and seeing one animal after another in them, or watching a landscape watercolorist who, with just a few brush strokes, can make us see detailed trees, water and mountains. Similarly with the surfaces of these vehicles, while they are certainly 2-dimensional, my eye sees them as 3-dimensional, with masses receding in space or figures taking shape. While I have my own titles for these pieces, you may very well see something entirely different in them and supply your own title. Pictured above is the "model" who posed in its unabashed splendor for the photograph. Being something of a purist, I have left the vehicles and their color unaltered. A small picture of the model (if available) is included at no charge when prints from this series are purchased. I hope you enjoy the "rustscapes."