Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rusty relics

click photo to enlarge
In a recent post I was pondering the attraction of decay, and the reasons why photographers are often drawn to scenes of dilapidation and dereliction. Look at any online galleries by enthusiast photographers and you will usually find examples of this genre. Moreover, if you look carefully you will also see photographs that constitute a subset of the category, namely the abandoned vehicle. Photographers in the United States seem drawn to shooting rusting cars and trucks abandoned in rural areas, vehicles thirty, forty, fifty years old and more, that are gradually succumbing to the weather and the weeds. Such images are certainly taken by people in the U.K., but I get the feeling that they are relatively far fewer, and I have sometimes wondered why this should be.

It's probably to do with land area and the density of population. In our small, crowded islands, space is at a premium, and waste ground where it does exist, tends to be put to a fresh use quite quickly. Many farmers (though by no means all) are obsessively tidy and dispose of old vehicles fairly promptly. Then there's the scrap metal price that attaches to such things. I've always thought that these are the reasons for fewer abandoned vehicles and hence fewer photographs: the luxury of unused open space of the sort that exists in the United States simply militates against it.

This open shed, stuffed with the gleanings of decades, shows what happens to a few old vehicles: they get put to one side, collected with other odds and ends that might be useful or that could be renovated in years to come. The two old tractors and the small car tucked away at the back appear to be about sixty or so years old. Those wheels on the right look like they might be from traction engines. And the old lawn mower appears to have been stored with the intention of being repaired, and then forgotten. Whatever the reason for the collection I thought it might make an interesting photograph to pore over.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 13mm (26mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/15
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On