Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Beauty in Abandoned Cars



"There is beauty in weathered and unpainted wood, in orchards overgrown, even in abandoned cars being incorporated into the earth...."  ~ Ernest "Chick" Callenbach, author of Ecotopia

The detritus of life has always fascinated me. So, sometime in June of '93, when I was driving through the outskirts of town and caught a glimpse of an old car hiding in the woods, I made a note to call JB and ask him to check it out with me, see what photographic opportunities might be waiting.

What we discovered was not just one, but several old cars had been abandoned in the woods, left to become entangled in the trees and underbrush. We must have spent two hours wandering among them, snapping picture after picture, trying to show some restraint. These were the days before digital, when photographic restraint was tied up in a person's film budget, which had, for me, become a line item. But, on that afternoon in '93, I was having so much fun I may have allowed these matters to take a backseat.












This is just a sampling of how much fun I had. Restraint has never been my strong suit.

It should be noted, these cars were removed at some point and the woods are alone once more. I think that's a good thing, but there's a part of me that wishes they were still there, and not just because the Days of Digital are upon us. I would love to spend at least one more afternoon among them.







Photographs are mine.

55 comments:

  1. And such amazing old cars too. I suppose in 93 they didn't seem quite so "classic" as they do now. But it has a kind of a fantasy look to it, to modern eyes.

    I have always loved ruins, for similar reasons

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    1. Me, too, Jenny. To be surrounded by history with all the stories that come to our imagination is so fun. One of these cars looks just like the one my aunt took us to the lake with in the summers of the late '50's. It was just the coolest car, even then.

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  2. Thank you Teresa for opening my eyes to the beauty in what at first seems to be only litter. I wonder what adventures they had before winding up in a forest.
    Take care,
    John

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    1. Hi John, I'm happy to be a part of the eye-opening process. It's always fun to see something in a different light. What tales those cars could tell. Love that last sentence of yours.

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  3. Oh yes, the first I thought was: What stories there must be in those old wonderful cars. They were once beauties, admired by people. Well, all beauty vanishes like withering flowers, sigh! But old age can be picturesque...
    Grethe `)

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    1. Yes, the stories! Maybe we should just make some up. :) That would be fun. I like that: I'm entering a rather picturesque time of life. I'm going to remember that. Thank you, Grethe.

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  4. Ooh Teresa, those are amazing pictures. I love them all! I believe it's the second one that is my most favorite. ...the open door and the way the light plays with it. Ooh my...

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    1. Thank you, TM. They're just scanned 35 mm, but sometimes I like to think the subject overshadows perfection. I kinda like that bright light bouncing off the front.

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  5. And the metaphorical resonances are endless.

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    1. John, I think there might be a few more posts in there. The car is such a perfect metaphor isn't it? I already know at least three poems that fit and one or two personal tales to illustrate, all in good taste, of course.

      Thanks.

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  6. Almost always if there are cars like this that are accessible pictures are taken.

    Really good stuff Teresa at least to my eye!

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    1. I thought this might spark a memory or two in you. Thanks. Glad you like it.

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  7. Those old abandoned cars provided homes for many stray cats and a variety of wildlife. That elevates their importance considerably!

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    1. You are absolutely right. I love that. Providing a place of shelter for these beings would be a top priority in my universe, too. What a great thought, Janice.

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  8. Where do all the millions of old cars go besides the woods??? -- barbara

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    1. I know salvage yards have many for parts and such. I think a lot get smashed and put in landfills. Can you imagine? I think they'd have been better off in the woods. Problematic, but I sure do like the idea.

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  9. Love the rust on the first photo, the columbines and the honeysuckle on the last pair!

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  10. I never would have even considered the beauty of an abandoned car before reading this. I would have seen the litter, and I would have felt a certain sadness, for glory days gone by, but never from the artistic perspective you present. Thanks for an interesting take on the subject.

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    1. They really are rather artistic, aren't they? Such statements they make.

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  11. I have been captivated before by old rusted out cars hidden in weeds...and farm machinery...mowers...barrel rings...an old wringer washer...tin cans...old broken tools...and crusty old metal boxes. Totally get it. ;)

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    1. Yes, all of the above. The artifacts of life.

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  12. What magnificent old cars. I remember the days when you had to wait to see what you actually captured with film. Today is much MUCH better. I love these shots; thank you for sharing them with me.

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    1. Yes, and often it was a mixture of acceptable, if not pretty good, along with completely outside that range. I am very grateful for the advances in photography.

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  13. I just loved the article very much. You have done a fantastic job with old car pictures.

    Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Santosh, for visiting my blog and for these kind words.

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  14. It seems sad to see what were once treasures left to rot. I always wonder why some people collect everything they have owned sometimes.I would love to have one of these now, but lack mechanical abilities to keep them alive.It is fun to see some that you rode in, memories always soar.

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    1. The details on even the standard old cars were really nice. I remember the leather loop for holding onto as you got in and out, and the seats always seemed plush. Good memories.

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  15. Dear Teresa, have you read the Harry Potter books? Your posting today reminded me of the magical car that Ron Weasley and Harry tried to fly back to school in Book 2. It dumped them on the school grounds after being whomped by the whomping willow. Then it sputtered off into the Forbidden Forest. Later in the book, it rescued the two of them from the giant spiders. Great adventure in an old car! Peace.

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    1. I may be the last person on the planet who has not read a single Harry Potter book. They sound interesting, but I gave up on fiction for a few years. I may get back into it this winter. Perhaps I'll give them a tr. Cars are great vehicles for storytelling. :)

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  16. You have such a wonderful eye for beauty around you.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I am always intrigued by the slightly unusual aspects of beauty.

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  17. Oh those are dillies. I can think of a few such spots here but the cars are not so wonderful. We do have two abandoned cars that I know of that are entirely covered in moss.

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    1. Entirely covered in moss - sounds like a photo opp for sure.

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  18. You know, sometimes I still reach for an above-the-door handle to help me get in or out of the car. I have no idea how long it's been since I was in a car that actually had such a clever bit of assistance, but the car probably looked like one of those in your photos.

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    1. Those old cars had some nice touches, didn't they?

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  19. I love your wooded wanderings, Teresa, and none more so than this one. The stories these cars could tell, of running out of gas and money, or making out, going off to war and not making it back, or making it back and what happens next. On and on the stories they could tell, but, then you are already telling their story in your photos.

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    1. Many stories and memories held there. If these cars could talk....

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  20. How right you were - how right you are. There is a profound beauty in these photographs. When in the hands of a talented photographer, fading old metal can be so attractive.

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    1. I would love to be able to return and get more detailed photos. I'm keeping my eyes open for new opportunities.

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  21. I always wonder about those cars, about who brought them out, what kinds of good times where had before it became to expensive to fix...

    Pearl

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    1. A happy always-too-soon Monday morning to you, Pearl! :)

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  22. fascinating! The garage where I get my car fixed(in quite a country spot)has several cars just like these - slowly being overtaken by nature. I must get some photos the next time I'm there, maybe see what I can discover about their history too.

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    1. Hi Avril! That garage and its old cars sounds like a good opportunity for photos and story-telling! Have fun!

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  23. I know what you mean Teresa, there is something haunting about them, maybe because of the setting, and the fact that nature beautifies them adding rust and iridescence, ivy and creeper. Somehow they don't appeal the same if they are on a street outside your house I'm sure, ;)) Your photographs are great though, the first one is my favourite, that lane through the grass to an unknown beyond, and the boot-lid lifted urging you forward to investigate, priceless!

    Hugs to you Teresa,
    Jane

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    1. Thank you so much, Jane, for your kind words about this post. There is a touch of the haunting about them, as though they are concealing stories that will never be told. Nature certainly does beautify whatever comes near, doesn't it?

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  24. Beauty in abandoned cars... haha... y'kill me.

    Good stuff!!!

    Good to see your blog in full screen... I travel about using my iPhone so can't comment well --- I don't have the patience... ;)

    beautiful blog

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    1. Hey, Ms. Vagabond! Nice to hear from you. Thanks! I hope your travels are full of interesting insights. They certainly are full of beauty.

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  25. Teresa, do you know the artist John Salt? He has painted auto wrecks, mostly in the US, for most of his life and is exhibited in many US museums and galleries. His wife is a friend of mine.

    If he had found your haul he would certainly have made good use of it. As have you, these are excellent photos.

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    1. Friko, I am so grateful you introduced me to John Salt. I had never heard of him or seen his work. I find it fascinating. Beautiful work. How fun to have his wife as a friend!

      Thank you very much.

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    2. I should add: I encourage others to Google John Salt's info and images. A very cool artist.

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  26. This is awesome :) Thanks for sharing :)

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