About Photographing Cars

APS Generating Station Sunset

The interesting thing about photographing cars is how most people look at car photographs.  There is an assumption, especially when the photographs show my own cars, that the purpose is to brag about owning a specific vehicle.   The fact is I photograph cars because I love cars, be it my own cars or someone else’s cars.  I don’t photograph them to brag about them.  I have been photographing cars for at least 5 years now, and if I was taking these photos to brag about owning specific cars, I would have stopped a long time ago! Bragging doesn’t go on for years.  It’s a short lived thing.  You brag, people get envious (if the bragging worked), you achieve what you wanted, and you move on.  You don’t go on doing it for years and years.

Plus, regardless of how long you brag about owning a vehicle, you don’t put all your efforts into creating the finest car photographs possible.  You don’t spend hours planning a shot, composing the photograph, making sure everything is done right, processing and optimizing the photograph to get optimal quality, printing it to the highest standards, and making sure you are expressing a personal vision.  No.  If your purpose is to brag, you grab a quick shot with your cell phone and post it on Facebook.  Bragging isn’t about the quality of the photograph. It’s about owning something that others don’t have.  Who cares how good the photo of that thing is. What matters is you have it and they don’t .  Your skills as a photographer are not at stake here.  It’s your buying power that is!

Quite frankly, I photograph cars for the same reason I photograph landscapes.  Because I love them.  That’s all. I love landscapes and I love cars.  I admit that having a passion for both is quite unusual because there isn’t a whole lot in common between both.  One is man made while the other is nature made. One is the product of science and technology, while the other is the product of geology and natural forces.  But to me, the one thing they have in common is that they are both beautiful.  Landscapes are beautiful and cars are beautiful.  Not all landscapes and not all cars of course, although the case can be made that with the proper light, composition and vision all landscapes and all cars can be made to look beautiful.

Regardless of these considerations what I am saying is that it is the aesthetic aspect of both that attracts me.  The visual quality. The fact that there are beautiful aspects to both.  The fact that they allow me to express not only my passion for both subjects but also my creativity.  Both offer plenty of room for creativity, for personal expression, for the creation of a body of work that demonstrates vision and not just documentation.

. . .  to be continued.

Alain Briot

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1 thought on “About Photographing Cars

  1. Alain, I think you not only explained it well but also perfectly framed my own thoughts on this subject.

    Car photography is much like portrait photography in that the setting, the light, the composition all must considered to create an appealing image of the subject. To be successful one has to first appreciate the beauty they are attempting to photograph.

    Thanks for this essay!

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