The passion for motorized transit has always been called an American obsession, but, as you can see from many of these images, other countries also share the same zeal for the automobile.
The photographs of cars in this online exhibition include many from some very noted photographers, including Man Ray, Robert Doisneau, Geza Vandor, Lee Friedlander, Daniel Masclet, Jean Dreville, Jaroslav Rossler, Werner Stoy and Pierre Jahan, among others.
Contemporary photographers have also made the automobile one of their favorite subjects. Contemporary artists included in this exhibition are Christophe Pruszkowski and Matthias Olmeta.
The automobiles in these photographs are used for numerous purposes--from transporting Presidents to providing customers for street prostitutes (an interesting combination, no?). But purpose is less the issue here as is the image of the car itself.
The gas or diesel motorcar may become a more tamed electric version in the future, but today it is still a road legend and the meat of many photographers' oeuvre. Photographs will always be taken of this individualistic form of transportation.
Reflections, blurs of speed and power all combine in these images of the automobile--one of the most emblematic mechanisms of the 20th century. The car, perhaps more than any other invention, seems to represent that explosive century with all its contradictions better than virtually any other single item made for sale. After all, it is still one of the most advertised and promoted high-end consumer products. For photography, it is simply natural to exploit this popular symbol to depict over-indulgence, power, individualism, sex, speed and beauty.
The sleek metallic sheen of these motorized beasts allows for that sense of beauty, mystery and speed, which almost seem hypnotic to the viewer. The camera provides more than a rear view mirror on the subject, often manipulating or at least making the most of reality to enhance a sense of all these effects as we note above. But the subject itself is still the star, like a beautiful model whose beauty photographers can only reflect in their lens.