Why Photograph This?

December 04, 2020  •  9 Comments

The HoldupThe HoldupLa Mesa, California
The Hold Up
La Mesa, CA

Preface:  Years ago, the 40s perhaps, Charlie Chaplin secretly entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.  He placed 20th. 

So, why take this photograph.  Last summer I submitted it to an off-the-wall contest and forgot about it until yesterday. I checked their website and my submission wasn't given so much as a nod. Not everybody gets a juice box.  Yet, I really like it.  Perhaps I like it in ways too different from the guardians of Internet photo contests. You never know who these guardians are, do you? And, no one would ever buy it so it won't find its way upon a wall (except perhaps some automotive geek who appreciates jack-stands).  So, what good is it?  Of course, it needs no monetary value to be appreciated, least of all by its creator. 

It has an oddness about it that I appreciate.  I can guarantee that you'll never see it duplicated, anywhere.  It's not Delicate Arch or Half Dome which will be photographed for eons to come.  This scene is gone, history, no more.  Go ahead, try searching for nighttime car on jack-stands and see what it gets you.  That, for me, gives it some equivalent to value. 

What it has for me is light and shadow, the subject is somewhat irrelevant, though interesting in its uniqueness.  The light brings texture to the canopy, the shadow gives it a sense of the clandestine, something stealthy, secretive. 

I'm finding more and more that I gravitate to these types of scenes. They may not "Pop" or evoke oohs and ahhs but they have merit.  They fit more comfortably in photo books than on walls and seem happiest when surrounded by their like brethren on fine paper in a well executed book of prints. 


Tom Dills(non-registered)
This photograph reminds me a bit of Robert Franks' "Covered Car, Long Beach, California, 1956." Many questions here: why is the car missing wheels, on jackstands, outside a garage? It looks like an exotic car, perhaps a Maserati or a Jaguar. Lots of incongruencies. Captivating photograph!
Todd Henson(non-registered)
Personal expression is personal, so express away. I also like this one, for some of the same reasons you do, though I may not have the personal attachment of having found and created it. However, I'm not sure I agree with "no one would ever buy it so it won't find its way upon a wall." Perhaps it's just me, but I could easily see someone wanting this on their wall for many of the reasons you were drawn to it, it's use of light and shadow, the mystery, the texture, the oddness.
Jerry Foodman(non-registered)
You may not have intended it but I got a good belly laugh when I read the title.
Monte Stevens(non-registered)
I am also drawn to the lights and the shadows.
It evokes mystery for me. It brings up questions that are unanswerable to me:
What's going on?
Dream car?
What does it look like now?
How does the wife feel about it sitting in the driveway?
Making it in black and white is just the trick for me. Adds to the mystery.

We take images for many reasons. Seems I take more images now for myself and the muse within. I'm not as concerned with what others think but more about what pulls at me within. And, because it is just for us, it has value no one else will have.
Great post and great image!
Erica miller(non-registered)
Enjoyed this post. A reminder that what others think does not necessarily matter when it comes to art and personal expression. Certainly pertains to some of last nights discussion, too.
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