Last Friday I took a few black & white prints to C&D Salvage to show my appreciation for allowing me to take photos in their salvage yard last April (see my earlier Auto Salvage Graveyard posts). Of course I brought my camera on this visit as well. Again, I asked for permission to take pictures. I only had about 40 minutes to shoot, as they would be closing soon. I returned to the same area were the older cars are located. Unfortunately, the weeds and brush had pretty much consumed the area. I’ll have to wait until the winter to get more shots of antique cars.
I continued on towards unexplored parts of the site. As I was about to run out of time, I saw a large heap of tires with a few wrecks thrown precariously on top of, or into the middle of the pile. The vehicles were light-colored which provided quite a bit of natural contrast with the darker tires. On a related note, one of the visually interesting aspects of the compositions in this post is the broad range of dark to middle gray tones seen in the tires. Turns out tire manufactures add carbon black to tires to help protect against dry rot caused by UV damage. Over time, the carbon black starts turning gray as it absorbs the UV in an effort to help protect the rubber. An interesting tidbit from the Auto Salvage Graveyard.
Click on an image to see a higher resolution image on my portfolio site.
Everyone and everything has a story. Considering the automobile is so tightly integrated into American culture, it’s easy to associate a car with a unique story-line. Outside the inherent utility of transportation, there is also the car/driver relationship. Here, driving becomes a real and tangible experience; repeated and built upon over time.
In the spring of 1982, I purchased a rusty but sturdy 1967 Pontiac LeMans for $200. Later that summer, my friend Mark and I visited a local junkyard in Raleigh; first to acquire a water pump, and later to get a radiator for my LeMans. Surplus parts from the junkyard kept me and my LeMans on the road and contributed to a great summer of 1982.
While photographing at the C&D Salvage location in China Grove, NC, and afterwards while processing images in Lightroom, I would think about the lost stories and perhaps lost souls represented in each graveyard relic I photographed. The images portray a kind of weathered monument to a time when the car was once shiny, new and admired. I also couldn’t help but to also loosely associate these old cars as automotive equivalents to organ donors. They gladly gave up spare parts to make other cars whole again.
I would encourage viewers of this post (and the previous one) to both hopefully appreciate the visual characteristics, but to also imagine what the story could be for each of the subjects in the Auto Salvage Graveyard.
While traveling to Charlotte on I-85 not long ago, I noticed what seemed to be a large junkyard through the trees, just past the China Grove exit. It occurred to me, subjects from this location could be an interesting addition to my The Beauty of Decay collection. A few weeks later I located C&D Salvage & Garage in China Grove, introduced myself as a photographer and asked for permission to take some pictures. I was given only 30 minutes to shoot, perhaps I looked a bit suspicious. Asking directions for the oldest part of the site, I was quickly on my way. The sky was perfect; it didn’t take long to find numerous potential fine art subjects. Fine art from a junkyard, ha!
I’m still researching the make of the car in Gold Sedan, Blue Sky. I knew immediately this was going to be a great shot. At 11:00 am the sun was still low enough to provide some side lighting. The low shooting angle and wide angle lens adds visual interest. I processed the image to emulate Kodak Ektachrome slide film. With this processing, the image picked up a bit more vibrancy & warmth.
A few rows offer I found a black 58 Chevy Bel Air — 58 Black Beauty. In its day, these were magnificent family sedans. A low shooting angle shows this old Bel Air still maintains most of its elegant lines, while the peeling paint and rust make for a different kind of beauty. The image was processed with a Agfa APX 100 filter.
A six foot high pile of rear axles (Rear Axle Salvage) makes for a chaotic but impactful composition of shapes, textures and shadows. This image was also processed with a Agfa APX 100 filter to give a little extra contrast and old school film grain. Click on an image to see a higher resolution image from my portfolio site. Click on the date of this post to like and leave a comment. I’m would love to hear your feedback.