The Story of a Photo
February 1st, 2012
Word arrived last night that I have a photo accepted for Nude Nite Tampa. The photo they chose is this one that I did of Carhenge with Brooke and Kat on our trip out west last fall. It’s nice to see this photo getting some recognition because it was a long time coming.
I first visited Carhenge shortly after it was built in 1987. I thought then, and still think today, that it is a great work of truly American art. What could be more American than to take something ancient and British and reproduce it in a corn field using junk cars? It’s brilliant. Way back then I was quoted in a national magazine saying Carhenge was the greatest work of art done in America in the decade. I stand by that comment.
And, way back then, when Alliance, Nebraska was still trying to get it removed, calling it “a junkyard too close to the road,” when I first saw the place, I saw this photo. I knew I had to take it…I couldn’t get the photo out of my mind. That’s how it is with me when I get an idea for a photo. It won’t go away until I somehow get it taken.
Over the years I returned to Carhenge a number of times, but never with all the elements I needed to make this photo. Several years ago I went there with Brooke and tried to do a photo with her modeling after dark using strobes to paint in each car with Brooke beside it. I bought a bunch of expensive equipment to do that photo. But with just Brooke and I…with me stumbling around in the dark…I just couldn’t get all that technology to work right and I failed to get the shot. I decided that it would require a full team of models and assistants to make that shot happen…and that, well, it just wasn’t worth the effort and cost involved.
But, on this last trip, with two wonderful models available, I thought I’d try it with less technology, dropping the painting with light approach and instead shooting it at dawn. We were on our way to Alliance to give it a try when that deer leaped out of the pre-dawn darkness and altered our plans.
But, after getting things settled in our deer-imposed hostage situation in Alliance, I managed to rent a car and we got up at dawn and went out to Carhenge, a few miles outside the town, to give this photo a try. And this time it worked. Obviously it isn’t a straight photo, but there’s not a lot of photoshop work involved. I simply set the camera up on a tripod and did a series of photos with Brooke and Kat moving from place to place. Then I just stacked the best shots in photoshop and erased them so that the portions with the lovely models showed. A simple process.
And there you have it…I’ve added the one missing element from this great work of art: The beautiful naked young women dancing around the site as the sun rises. Perfect!
I’m glad the jury for the Tampa show agreed. If you are in the Tampa area, go to the show and check out the print. A couple clicks on the photo here will also let you take a look at it in a larger size.