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  • Brendan McKay

Case Study No. 1

I've gone on a bit of a coffee table photobook buying binge lately - Cars - New York City, 1974-1976, by Langdon Clay, synopses of Ed Ruscha's Some Los Angeles Apartments work and autophoto, compiled by Clement Cheroux, to name a few. When I click "Buy it Now" I quietly tell myself that this is all in the vein of artistic homework, furthering my own work behind the lens through research of others' expressions...but I'd be lying if I didn't admit outright that I'm a huge sucker for curated, sexy shots of photography books on Instagram and other websites that pander to that best life I'm currently not living enough of. Any photographic, automotive, or jeans-and-t-shirt company reading this, feel free to just cut out the display ad middleman and message me directly - I'll back up the money truck and make this much less painful for everyone involved.

But all the same, the books do provide wonderful inspiration and templates for ideas, angles and lighting that I otherwise wouldn't have thought of. As I've gotten more and more into photography, it has been eye opening to look critically at what other photographers have done as an expression of subject, and then try to mirror those styles and perspectives that resonate. Langdon Clay's work is particularly impactful for me in this regard - a car, an architectural backdrop, and not much else.

Cars - Los Angeles, 2019

One of the things I long for when toting the camera around, but rarely get, is a scene uninterrupted by the modern day clutter that is near impossible to avoid these days. And when I'm taking pictures of cars from the 90s and earlier, I to go extreme length to shoot in a manner that avoids all reference to current day. I don't know what this says about me as a person and my psyche other than that I'm super anal, and anyone who's known me for any length of time would just say, "Obvi". The inherent conflict outlined above usually results in me being moody and unhappy with my shots and in need an early midday beer.

Porsche 912E, all by its pretty little self

So when we were walking back from coffee the other day and found a 912E Porsche casually sitting alone on the streets of Santa Monica against a backdrop of 70's and 80's low-rise commercial buildings, I sprinted back home to get the camera and desparately prayed that no other cars would interrupt the setting. I was in luck, and with a little traffic dodging, and a suspicious eye from a few hotel guests across the street, I managed to rip off a couple of shots. 

2019 x 1976

Lines, curves and edges in all the right places...swoon-worthy

"Language of Design"

So if anyone sees a guy feverishly stalking solo vintage and classic cars throughout Los Angeles, particularly angling and cropping to ensure anonymity of time - in all likelihood it's your boy. Hoping there's a lot more of this to come.

And...end scene


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