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  • Writer's pictureAustin Harter

Hot Wheels and Classic Cars

Red Hot | Leica M11 Elmar-M 1:2.8/50

The summer sun beats down on Manassas, Virginia. The small town is bustling with people out and about enjoying one of the season's last warm weekends. Fading summer tones, the smell of oil, gasoline, and steel filled the air. I had at least an hour to kill and wanted to explore seeing the sundry vehicles differently than I had before.

I'm not a true motor gearhead. An oil pan sounds like an artistic way to swivel your camera horizontally. And antifreeze is more like the name Team Flash gives a new villain in Central City rather than an additive that lowers the freezing point of a water-based liquid. I may not understand a combustion engine's mechanics, but I can appreciate it. My excitement over classic, custom and vintage cars is more related to artistic craftsmanship and what it represents.

Oh, the colors, styling, and sense of solid power. I love the unique lines and slopes of the bodies. You begin to understand how the past viewed the present and future. Being so far removed from any of those periods sometimes makes everything modern seem excessive.

Driver's Seat | Elmer-M 1:2.8/50

Burlesque | Elmer-M 1:2.8/50

Wink | Elmer-M 1:2.8/50

Walking around, reflections, colorful lines, and vintage personality catch my eye. This photo walk might have the potential to capture multiple images. Everywhere I looked presented a great frame. It was challenging to know where to start. In truth, I wanted to capture the kinds of images of these cars that could be seen in GQ or Vogue and not strictly an automotive magazine. I wanted character, style, personality, and not just colored metal

Retro Bird | Elmer-M 1:2.8/50

Back Seat | Elmer-M 1:2.8/50

I've never photographed cars in this setting before, and I was worried about the hard light on a beautiful day. I found it challenging to frame things up or find the right angles. The first part of the walk was awkward and disjointed, with only a couple of good photos. Then something clicked, and I felt more comfortable looking like the strange dude with a camera. Shooting more contrasty images ended up being the right recipe for me during this shoot, and I feel like I found a way to view these cars differently than I might have approached them in the past.

Who knew a simple challenge could promote growth?

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