The first time a photographer's work is published on paper is truly an exciting experience. In the fall of 2015, I was recruited by my dear friend and Editor in Chief Alexandra Hehlen, after I showed her the images I had taken of classic cars in New Orleans with my 35mm cameras. Despite the fact that the newly founded Coulture Magazine was, and continues to be, primarily a fashion magazine, Alexandra and I both agreed that we could find a place for my photography. To my surprise, I was given the task of compiling a six page photo essay, three entire double-page spreads. You can find the full article here: https://issuu.com/coulturemagazine/docs/coulture_magazine_digital_version/38
For the first couple of weeks in New Orleans, I explored around the neighborhood where I was living, and experimented with Kodak TMax 100 film, which has a much finer grain structure than my go-to Tri-X 400. Coupled with the tack-sharp 50mm Summicron on my Leica M6, these initial images came out with a resolution that made me doubt that they were really shot on 35mm film. The two cars above belonged to a software engineering student at Tulane University. His father was a collector, and moved these relics from the Lower Ninth Ward to the less-affected neighborhood of Uptown once Katrina hit. It always struck me that this 20-something college kid, earphones plugged into his iPhone 5, would exit the two-story shotgun house, stuffing his Macbook Air into a Jansport backack, and then climb into a 1968 Chevrolet Impala for his morning commute.
A short 5-minute walk would bring me to Prytania Street, one of Uptown's commercial hubs. On several evenings after a long day in the courtroom, I would stop by The Creole Creamery for an ice cream cone and some good old fashioned people watching. Here too, the trend repeated itself; fresh-faced millenials not that much older than myself sat at the steering wheels of masterpieces of leather and chrome. The stylish Mercedes was driven by a 27-year old Associate Account Manager at the nearby Chase branch, the Yamaha bike by the junior sous chef of Kyoto restaurant.
As I'm sure you can imagine, my eyes lit up when a co-worker who knew of my enthusiasm for old automobiles informed me that a classic car show was coming to the Crescent City. Expecting a procession of brightly colored antiques, I loaded up a couple of rolls of Kodak Ektar 100, famous for its rich color saturation. The image above caught my eye because of the leading lines of the guardrail (which I jumped over to get the shot) as well as the repeating pattern of teal and orange contrasting colors. Sticking my Nikon FE with a wide angle 28mm lens inside the open windows of a Pontiac Bonneville, I was mesmerized by the chromed steering wheel, the analog dials on the dash, and the humorous Do Not Touch sign.
On the other side of the show lot, set against the backdrop of the Crescent City Connection Bridge (formerly the Greater New Orleans Bridge) was a line of Ford Super Deluxe coupes. The polished crimson paint job on the furthest one really showed me the color wizardry of the Ektar emulsion, the car resemebling something straight out of The Great Gatsby. The interior was no less exciting, with a pair of red fuzzy dice tying it all together. Some might say tacky, I considered them quite fitting.
The star of the show, however, was without a doubt the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. This car screamed American James Bond, and occupied an equally dignified and gentlemanly position, parked by itself at the intersection of several brick paths and reflecting the clouds above on its waxed blue-grey exterior. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I found out that the owner of this piece of classic Americana was not owned by some balding, retired millionaire, but rather an LSU mechanical engineering student who fixed it up after finding it in a junkyard. Some things you just can't expect.