So just got to our hotel in Tampa, Florida and the journey feels like its gone on forever, first we didnt have a pilot of the plane, no idea how that happens but it did. Im not going to moan about it thought, because now we are in Tampa and the car hire company have given us the one things I’ve always wanted. a proper american SUV, this thing is a beast. they have given us a GMC Yukon SLT, this thing is like a $60k monster. No idea why they looked at me and thought it would fine, but they did and Im happy about it.
Overall it feels quite good to be back in the south, I know Flordia is quite touristy but it doesn’t feel like that where we are, it feels like a cool part of the world, even though Ive only seen it in the dark. Tomorrow we have a day off, so im looking forward to explore this place, at the moment my main goal is to see a crocodile, like a proper wild one on the side of a river bank, but not sure if that will happen. the chances are ill just chill all day and try to burn of that ridiculous amount BBQ food I just eaten.
This is now like my sixth america state in the past 5 weeks and I really feel like I’m starting to understand a bit more about this place, it almost feels like I’ve completed america if that makes sense. every time I go to a new country I always want to feel some kind of connection to that place, and get the lingo along with the way of life. Im not sure if 5 or 6 weeks is enough time to feel like that, but with america I kind of feel like I’m starting to get the hang of the crazy country.
As today was just really like a travel day not many photos were taken but I did try and get out after dinner and do like a mini photo shoot with the SUV. and to be honest I think thee photo look pretty cool.
Today is the last day of me doing my first mini photo project, Cool Unknown American. Im not really sure how much is unknown or how much everyone knows, but my plan was just to show the inner workings on America on a whistle stop tour of America these past few days. Im about to have a really busy few days, so I think its probably best is I go for a five part project.
I’m currently sat in someone’s garage as the temperature hits 95 degrees, its pretty hot and there’s no air con but that will no break me.
With these posts its always tough to figure out what to write about and with photos, Ive always wanted to let my photos do the talking and just let people read each image and take away from it what they please. That’s not really the case, if you can take a good photo that seems to be about 60% of it, the other 40% is your writing. How well you can capture and write about that photo. That’s what I’ve learnt about this project, my photos are only doing a percentage of the work, I need to explain the reason behind the photos and what I think. Maybe its time for a new shake up of this blog, change the layout and my angle. I’m coming up to the 6 month mark in 11 days and the past 171 days have taught me a lot.
Two of the photos you see below are from previous days, one is of this incredible sunset we saw over the Illinois river on the drive from St.louis to Chicago. It was like a 6 hour drive, on the same straight road of like 200 miles, we got bored half way through and turned off on to the old route 66, this photo was taken just after we joined back on the highway across over the river and then were met by this crazy sunset. I love taking photos of sunsets, they never get boring. my favourite part about this photo is the reflection off the river in the back ground, it makes it feel like mid west america to me.
The other photo is from the VW car meet, this guy was standing up on the flat bed trying to sell things I think. I dont know why, I just thought it was a good photo opportunity so i took it. that car meet was one of those moments that will stand out for me on this trip. I just happened to look out of my hotel window and saw all this craziness happening across the road, so grabbed my camera and just started taking photos. nothing was planned, it just all seemed to fall into place.
anyway I’ve just eaten way to much Chicago deep pan pizza to keep me full or the next week, so heres my three photos. enjoy.
about a mile down the road from the hotel we are staying in, is this cool scrap / mechanics / junk yard that has a few hidden gems. From the freeway that runs parallel to the yard, you can see this 1970’s all white cadillac and as today was a prep day, basically getting ready for our up and coming shoots. I thought I would get in a bit of time to explore this yard.
On the way over I thought I would try something a bit different and shoot these in Black and White not edit them later in lightroom and turn them black and white. but completely shoot black and white. my thought process was that because theres a complete mixture of items from eras and parts from around the world that have all ended up in the same place, the only way I would be able to get across the feeling abandoness *not sure if thats a word, but ill go with it*. was by shooting Black and white.
Its 99% worked, these photos have a feel of loneless and despair, everything you see in this junk yard once had a home, it was once used for a purpose and now its left out in the elements to rust away until its up-cycled and found a new home. Hopefully. places like this yard are full of stories, like the van below which to me looks like it has a bullet hole in the windscreen and the front completely caved in. what the hell happened to that truck? as someone who likes the over the top story line, I like to think it was involved in some kind of gangsta stuff involving two bonnie and Clyde characters who instead of robbing a bank accidentally ended up in my library because bonnie was drunk that day and didn’t scoop the place out first. which meant the police got involved and took a pop at Cylde the get away driver. so now their choice of get away van is sat rusting away in the junk yard in Chicago instead of Mexico.
I can almost guarantee thats no where near what actually happened, but thats the kind of crap my brain likes to conjure up when Im taking these photos.
heres my photos from todays mini shoot. thanks to Frank and Al for letting me explore their Junk Yard!
A Few years ago I brought a 1967 VW Beach Buggy for my dad and me to drive, it was a sick little car when it worked and we would always need new parts or an MOT. The last time I took it for a spin, the accelerator peddle would get stuck on and the car would stop. which made of an interesting drive. when I brought that car at the age of 16, I could get insured and didnt even have a license, when I passed my test the insurance was so expensive it was really worth it.
Today my love for beach buggys has been re-lite. across the road from our hotel today was this VW car meet, with people selling parts and showing off their cars. The beach buggies were pretty impressive but thats not the main reason I decided to go, I love looking at those cars and seeing people impression but I wanted to photograph the people who import all this, it cant be easy finding classic VW parts in Silver Lake Chicago, it must take a network of people to find all the small parts like a 60’s Beetle speedometer or a carb and its these people that I want to photograph.
I was speaking to a few people about what its like selling old VW car parts and the life style it brings and the whole thing is pretty interesting, every purchase has to be calculated and thought about. can they use it on there projects or can it be cleaned restored and sold on. its definitely something which has to be a hobby first and then maybe possible make a living from it down the line maybe.
What my favourite thing about these classic cars is the fact that none of them are standard, everyones added their own personality to them, like the crazy Mexican’s who have built a massive table football on the back of there VW camper and then all just play football and laugh, its their two favourite things football and VWs coming together in a way that you wouldnt find in the back of a toyota Prius. classic VW’s just seem to have a personality that no other car has.
anyway enough of hearing my views, heres my snaps. By the way these were all shot on a 20mm 2.8 canon lens. I think its my new favourite lens.