Research: Cars in films

In movies, particularly ones aimed at a younger audience which involve cars are given names and tend to have a gender. The best example of this is in Cars (2006) which is all about, well, cars. Each has it’s own gender and personality which seem very typical to the car in which they are. One in particular is the VW Camper Van, which is shown as a hippie as they were very popular among the stereotype in the 70s.

Before Disney made Cars there was Brum (1991-2002) which was a TV series about a toy cars travel around the city which his owner in away. Brum was obviously just called this because of the sound a car makes, and was made for young children (I remember watching it when I was young) but it was the first thing I saw where it was a car with seemingly intelligent, self-driven car with characteristics. Another film I thought of was Herbie which stared in six films, the earliest being The Love Bug (1968) and the most recent Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005). The decal on the VW Beetle has been made quite iconic as many people have recreated it on their own. In these film Herbie is a sentient anthropomorphic, a car with feelings. Most people who own a car spend a lot of their time in it, travelling to work, college or uni, or just travelling in general and get quite attached, especially if they’ve had them for a long time. Perhaps having a car for so long it can seem like it has characteristics of its only, little things that you know make it work, for example in order to turn my Dads Camper Van on you have to pump the clutch three times before trying to turn on the engine. Does this actually do anything? I don’t know but it’s things like this which I think become part of the attachment we have to our cars.

After seeing a film where the whole world are cars rather than people, it’s hard not to think of cars in our own world in this way. Perhaps Disney when making the film where thinking about how different cars seem more male than female, and what kind of personalities they might have. I would be interested to know where the inspiration for the film Cars came from. Overall as films are part of our popular culture, it creates a norm for people to name their cars based on their appearance, perhaps since these types of films we’ve seen more of it.


Lecture 5 The Photobook: a Renaissance

New technology gets over thought – when internet began it was thought that all printed matter would be obsolete.

Photography: darkrooms will go, not need to print anymore, will all become digital.

Photography being re-birthed, more photobooks being made now than ever before. Why is this? Reaction to screens, photography’s intimate relationship with the page. Have control over it, unlike magazine. Photography went straight to the page rather than wall.


The very first photographically illustrated book:

Anna Atkins self-published her photograms of algae in the first instalment of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in October 1843

Books have become subject to study – books on books. Photography theory on books was hard to find in early 2000s. Critics and theorists didn’t think it needed thinking about (last dozen years).

Internet shows the quality of the book and television gave old movies a new lease of life.

The internet is a lot of things put together – includes television. When new technology comes, it adds previous technology to it, rather than replacing it.

What is a ‘photobook’? Is it event a category?

‘The compound noun ‘photobook’ is a nifty little invention, designed to turn an infinite field (books with photographs in them) into something much more definable. What chancer would dare try to coin the term ‘wordbook’ to make a category of all books with words in them? But here we are. The field needs a name and until we find a better one we’re stuck with ‘photobook’.’
David Campany, ‘So what is a “photobook”?’, Source magazine n. 79, Summer 2014

Photobook Review, published by Aperture.

“The term ‘photobook’ is recent. It hardly appears in writings and discussions before the twenty-first century. This is surprising given that some of the various kinds of objects it purports to designate have been around since the 1840s. It seems that makers and audiences of photographic books did not require the term to exist. Indeed they might have benefitted from its absence. Perhaps photographic book making was so rich and varied precisely because it was not conceptualized as a practice with a unified name. So does the advent of the term ‘photobook’ mark some kind of change?”

“There was little serious writing on the subject of photographically illustrated books throughout what was arguably the most important period for the form: 1920 to 1970. In that half century, when so many remarkable and important books were published, barely a single intelligent essay was written about them. For example, August Sander’s Antlitz der Zeit (The Face of Our Time, 1929) and Atget: Photographe de Paris (1930) received almost no critical attention, beyond a few lines from Walter Benjamin and Walker Evans. Today they are among the most discussed. Even Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958/9) attracted little serious commentary when it first appeared (although there were plenty of ranting column inches, for and against).

For all the sophistication of the photographs, the design, editing and printing techniques; and for all the nuanced grasp of how a book of photographs might contribute to its cultural moment, or become a complex document, something seemed to elude critics and commentators. It’s as if it was only once photographically illustrated printed matter had begun to be eclipsed by television, video and later the Internet that it could come under close scrutiny.“

David Campany, The ‘Photobook’: What’s in a name?

1 The Americans, Robert Frank, 1958.

2 Evidence, Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, 1977.

3 The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Nan Goldin, 1986.

4 New York, William Klein, 1956.

5= In Flagrante, Chris Killip, 1988.

5= Farewell Photography, Daido Moriyama, 1972.

7 Ravens, Masahisa Fukase, 1986.

8 The Map, Kikuji Kawada, 1965.

9= Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, 1972.

9= Sentimental Journey, Nobuyoshi Araki, 1971.

9= William Eggleston’s Guide, 1976.

9= For a language to come, Takuma Nakahira, 1970.

13= American Photographs, Walker Evans, 1938.

13= The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952.

13= Waffenruhe, Michael Schmidt, 1987.

16= Redheaded Peckerwood, Christian Patterson, 2012.

16= U-NI-TY, Michael Schmidt, 1996.

Certainly before the widespread acceptance of photography by museums and galleries, books were a central means of expression for photographers.

Often a book is not merely a ‘vehicle’ for the photographs, rather the book ‘is’ the work itself.

The making of any photographic book requires expertise not only in photography but also in graphic design, writing, editing/sequencing, publishing technologies and much more.

Book as primary vehicle, sequencing, print quality, font, some just albums.
– Jeff Wall: Never took photobook seriously and always sees his images going straight to the wall.

Examples of books studying book:

  • Andrew Roth, The Book of 101 Books (2001)
  • Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: a History, Volumes I, II and III (2004, 2005 and 2014)
  • Jörg Coldberg, Understanding Photobooks (2016)
  • Imprint: Visual Narratives in Books and Beyond (2014)

Once a book is gone it’s usually gone, but some books due to popularity get re-issued.

  • Stephen Shore, Merced River, Nazraeli Press, 2006
    When working with 8×10, can’t see entire screen at the same time, see pictures within picture (sub pictures).

Between documents and fictions

  • Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts (2012)

    Created lots of discussion online The Photographers Gallery wouldn’t stock the book because it was seen to be racist.

  • Zoe Leonard and Cheryl Dunye, The Fae Richards Photo Archive (1996)

    Looks like archival photographs, a life story being told. Beginning – domestic servant to Jazz musician, number of relationships (homosexual and biracial) – ends showing her dying alone.
    All fictional, discusses the issue of white lives being shown more than black lives in archival photographs.

  • Christian Patterson, Luc Sante and Karen Irvine, Redheaded Peckerwood, (2011)

    Redheaded Peckerwood is a work with a tragic underlying narrative – the story of 19 year old Charles Starkweather and 14 year old Caril Ann Fugate who murdered ten people, including Fugate’s family, during a three day killing spree across Nebraska to the point of their capture in Douglas, Wyoming. The images record places and things central to the story, depict ideas inspired by it, and capture other moments and discoveries along the way.
    From a technical perspective, the photographs incorporate and reference the techniques of photojournalism, forensic photography, image appropriation, reenactment and documentary landscape photography. On a conceptual level, they deal with a charged landscape and play with a photographic representation and truth as the work deconstructs a pre-existing narrative.
    Redheaded Peckerwood also utilizes and plays with a pre- existing archive of material, deliberately mixing fact and fiction, past and present, myth and reality as it presents, expands and re-presents the various facts and theories surrounding this story.
    While photographs are the heart of this work, they are the complemented and informed by documents and objects that belonged to the killers and their victims – including a map, poem, confession letter, stuffed animal, hood ornament and various other items, in several cases, these materials are discoveries first made by the artist and presented here for the first time.

Reconsidering the representation of war and conflict

  • Gilles Peress, Telex Iran (1983)

    Still significant, style of photojournalism which focuses more on the social and psychological effects rather than the event itself.

  • Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, Infidel, (2010)


  • Jaqueline Hassink, The Table of Power, (1996)

    A study of the boardrooms of the world’s most powerful corporations.
    Inserted black pages where consent was denied, acknowledging it.
    Very small book.
    Includes information about the tables at the back of the book including dimensions, where it was bought and if it was made specifically for that room.

  • Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2008

    Places the public are not allowed to see.

  • Florian van Roekel, How Terry Likes His Coffee, 2010

    Photographing boring office life, generic, could be any workplace, images feel quite cinematic.

  • Jules Spinatsch, Temorary Discomfort Chapter I-V: Davis, Evian, Geneva, New York, Genoa, 2005

    A study of the world economic summits.

  • Mark Neville, Port Glasgow book project 2005

    Mark Neville’s project was the result of a public art commission, but instead of making a public sculpture, or publicly displayed images, Neville produced a documentary photographic book.
Copies were given directly to each of the 7000 residents of Port Glasgow. It was never available commercially.
    Not all the residents liked the book, some of them were burned due to religious reasoning.

  • Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts, 1993 – 2015

    In 1992, Dana Lixenberg travelled to South Central Los Angeles for a magazine story on the riots that erupted following the verdict in the Rodney King trial. What she encountered inspired her to revisit the area, and led her to the community of the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. Returning countless times over the following twenty-two years, Lixenberg gradually created a collaborative portrait of the changing face of this community. Over the years, some in the community were killed, while others disappeared or went to jail, and others, once children in early photographs, grew up and had children of their own. In this way, Imperial Courts constitutes a complex and evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community.

Extended Journalism

The book form allows for ambitious projects, often in images and writing, that have the complexity of long-form journalism or novels. Such books may take the reader a long weekend to fully absorb. Some examples:

  • Alixandra Fazzina, A Million Shillings – Escape from Somalia, 2010

    Photographs and text by Fazzina, following the fate of economic refugees fleeing Somalia by boat.
    Learn a lot about their situations.

  • Mitch Epstein, Family Business, 2003

    His Fathers generation, post war. Writes his own text, publishers didn’t make any changes.

Lyric documentary / street photography

(The term ‘lyric photography’ comes from Walker Evans)

  • Ricardo Cases, Paloma al aire, 2011
    A study of pigeon racing in Valencia and Murcia, Spain. Uses spiral binding to advantage.

Photography and process exploration of materiality

  • Jason Evans, NYLPT, 2012
    Double exposing photographs from different places. All image are an accident, will just grab a used film.
  • Maurice Sheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes, Unfolded, 2012
    Commercial design and fashion photographers, exhibit work and make books.
    Revisiting commercial work.


  • Jenny Saville and Glen Luchford, Closed Contact, 2002
    Saville’s work is very ‘fleshy’. Used glossy paper. Body on to glass.
  • Daniela Rossell, Rich and Famous, 2008
    Portraits of the mega rich – mostly women, doesn’t always photograph the source of the money.
    Women who were photographed were not happy with the representation, perhaps thought the images would be in magazines such as Felt betrayed due to the context of the exhibition and book.

Small idea, small book:

John Divola, As Far as I Could Get
Sets the timer on his camera and runs as far as he can before the shutter releases.

Essential Reading:

Darius Himes, ‘Who Cares About Books?’, in Alex Klein, ed, Words without Pictures, LACMA, 2009. On Blackboard.


Richard Prince

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 17.14.15
Richard Prince, He Ain’t Here Yet, 1987 Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas 56 x 48 inches 142.2 x 121.9 cm
Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 17.14.43
Richard Prince, Untitled, 1987 Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas 56 x 48 inches 142.2 x 121.9 cm
Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 17.18.24
Richard Prince, I Changed My Name, 1988 Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas 56 1/4 x 78 1/2 inches 142.9 x 199.4 cm

The art work shown above by Richard Prince is from his Monochromatic Jokes project which are jokes silkscreened onto canvas. The work was created over several years between 1987 to 1994 and was one of his most iconic series. In the series he was reflective of the “borscht belt” humour which was widespread during the 1950s. They discuss social preoccupations of the national subconscious.

I thought that this work by him was interesting in conjunction to some of the images I took of the cars at Ace Cafe which had stickers on them.


These aren’t necessarily jokes but are meant to be somewhat comical. They’re displayed on their cars, and unlike Prince’s work they’re stickers rather than on canvas, however the cars they’re on can be seen as canvas’s which people use to express themselves.

As a side project I would like to gather images of the stickers people put on their cars as I think that they’re quite interesting. A lot of them were unique to each car, but some which were from clubs or events were repeated on several different cars as well. The repetition is also something to be noted as they’re showing a stamp of were they’ve been.

Lecture 5: Photography in the Expanded Field

During this lecture, we were questioning what the medium photography is in the wake of digitisation. Is there an expansion of traditional notions of photography?

It was also to show us how you can take a body of work and analyse it when thinking of our dissertations.

The main theory we looked at was expanded field by George Baker. Baker refers to photography as an art medium.

Rosalind Krauss is also discussed in relation to medium specificity and her theory that it has been ‘abandoned’ and ‘spells the death of serious art.’ (Krauss, 2010).

Rosalind Krauss, Perpetual Inventory, Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010, pp.xiii-xiv.

George Baker –

  • ‘Everywhere one looks today in the world of contemporary art, the photographic object seems to be an object in crisis, or at least in severe transformation’
  • George Baker, ‘Photography’s Expanded Field’, October, 114, Fall 2005, p.121.

There is not just a shift, but photography is in crisis and that there is a new importance in art.

The first photographer mentioned is Sherrie Levine and After Walker Evans no.4, 1981.

  • Work shows a shift away from artist as maker, rather representing work/copying. Playing with the idea of authorship.

Next we explored different photographers that have used an expansion to photography.

References to Andy Warhol, 5 Deaths, 1963  and Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend, 1967.

Ingrid Hölzl

‘With digital image processing, post-production has become the principal site of photographic image production, where recorded and calculated images are merged into what I will call augmented documents. The augmented document emphasises not only the hybrid temporality of contemporary society but also the hybrid temporality of its representation, displaying a possible present where different space–times coexist’.

Ingrid Hölzl ‘Blast-off Photography’, History of Photography, Feb 2011.

  • Need to expand what photography is.

Nancy Davenport, WORKERS (Leaving the Factory), 2005-8.

Allan Sekula, Fish Story, 1996.

  • Same subject (globalisation) but staying with traditional documentary.
  • Artists able to work with subjects without using major production.


Andreas Gursky, Montparnasse, 1993.

  • Embracing post production.


Philip-Lorca diCorcia, New York, 1993.

  • Recoded with cinema technology. Tableau but street not cinema.


David Claerbout, Vietnam 1967, near Duc Pho (reconstruction after Hiromishi Mine), 2001. Single channel video projection.

  • Large tableau, are prjections with slight movement.


Based on C-7 Caribou aircraft hit by friendly fire, Vietnam, August 1967.


  • Hybrid. Gives a sense of time.

Sharon Lockhart, Goshogaoka, 1997. (details)


  • Looks like sport. Shot against black background.
  • Staged but looks spontaneous.
  • Combining sport and art.
  • Lighting style comes from paintings.

Gabriel Orozco, Yielding Stone, 1992.

  • Images and object (plasticine) history of object.
  • Asterisms, 2012.
  • Collect waste objects washed up from New York and Mexico. Embodiment, tactile and seeing. Expansion of photography. Relationship between USA and Mexico.
Gabriel Orozco, Yielding Stone, 1992.
Gabriel Orozco, Asterisms, 2012

Rachel Harrison, Valid like Salad, 2012. Mixed media.

  • Photography and sculpture. What we mean by medium and expanding. Image incorporated into it.


Thomas Demand, Control Room, 2011.

  • Sculpture, destroys it after photograph. Final photograph is all that’s left of the sculpture. Expand in term of space. Materiality.

Erin Shirreff, Signatures, 2011.

  • 3D quality due to the light. Coming from different media.


Erin Shirreff, Lake, 2012.


Erin Shirreff, UN, 2010.

Kelly Richardson, The Erudition, 2011 (video installation)

Heather and Ivan Morison: Dark Star, 2009.

  • Moving image and still image.
  • Made at a travelers site – new age.
  • Related to alien abductions UFO sightings.


Shannon Ebner, USA, 2003, from the series ‘Dead Democracy Letters’, 2002-6.

  • Interested in the relationship between image and language. Makes political statements.
  • Abuse of American Dream.
  • Inserted into LA, iconic landscapes, cinema sets.



Robert Frank, from the series The Americans, 1959.

  • Iconic take on American commercial and consumerist culture. Decline of American Dream.



  • Backwards Hollywood sign and sunset. Clique image.

Essential Reading:
Baker, George, ‘Photography’s Expanded Field’, October 114, Fall 2005, pp.120-140.

Second Shoot: Ace Cafe

For my second shoot I visited the Ace Cafe for their VW air cooled and T4/T5 Van event. For this shoot I used my Pentax K1000 with Ektar 100 film, a ring flash and a 135mm lens. I only realised when I got to the event and started shooting that the 135mm lens was to zoomed for me to use the ring flash, so it had to be taken off and held closer to the car. This made it difficult for me to focus and also get the shots I wanted. Another difficulty I had was focussing in the low light, it was okay with cars who were within the lights, but ones further out didn’t have any external light on them. For some shots I got my assistant for the shoot to light the area up with the light on their phone so I could focus, however it was difficult as they had to hold the ring flash and light metre as well.




The Bitch



These are some of my favourite shots from the shoot, all of the cars shown above were VW Beetles. The first three are of a Beetle named Ben, then the next three are from one called The Bitch and lastly is Minty. What I found difficult about shooting these cars was that I tended to focus more towards the stickers put on the car rather than the car itself. Even though I don’t think they necessarily fit with this project, if I find more with them I think I’m going to continue shooting them as they are very interesting and perhaps say a lot about the driver as it’s there way of personalising it.

Overall I’m very pleased with how my second shoot went, it took some courage for me to approach people about their cars and take pictures of them, but by the end of the night I felt very comfortable as I eased into it. I think that as well as having a project that interests me, I also like that it’s challenging me as a photographer to step out of my comfort zone and gain some confidence.



First Shoot

Contact Sheet

My first shoot was shot with my 35mm camera (Pentax K1000) with Kodak Colourplus film and ring flash. I am not going to use Colourplus for my final images as the colour is not accurate to the car at all, I would for final images spend more time editing. I only used this film as I wanted to do a test shoot for composition rather than the actual film used, and I happened to have this film which I got for free.

The car photographed here is my partners, he has not named it, but it’s an interesting one as his friends are always calling it a ‘hairdressers car’ suggesting that it’s a feminine car. This is what I was thinking of when I tried to photograph it, which I found harder than I thought I would. What I found difficult was pointing out areas which I thought looked feminine. My favourite shot I took was of the headlight, which looks like a cat eye.


I cropped this image so that it was diagonal and fit into the corners of the frame. I also tried to edit out the flash, I didn’t do this very well but with more work I think it would look better than having it in. I thought the flash would be more of an issue than it was, I didn’t actually get very much flash back in my photographs.

Reflections were a big problem, the car was so shiny from being waxed that I found it hard not to get myself in some of the shots I wanted to take. Unfortunately at all the car shows I’m likely to go to for this project, the cars are going to be this shiny as they owners get them ready for display. This is another problem with the ring flash, I cannot have the ring flash and a polarising filter on at the same time, but when I tested the polarising filter I don’t think it would have made much of a difference anyway.


Above are a few more of my favourite shots from my first shoot which I have edited. Without looking at them next to each other as shown above it was hard to get them the same colour, so I apologise for the sloppy colouring.

Overall I am fairly happy with how my first shoot went. I think there’s still lots to figure out and explore, lots of car shows to visit, but hopefully I will be able to gather some interesting images together.

Lecture 4: Edgar Martins

Edgar Martins works on both long-term commissions and personal projects, he’s created work using night photography, architectural photography and also studies institutions which is guided by his interest in philosophy to do with the character and paradoxes of the medium.
Not only has he published more than a dozen books but he has also exhibited his photographs internationally.

He combines analogue and digital to expand the possibilities of photography.

On his website ( Martins has twenty different pieces of work he has created over the years. During his talk he tried to cover most of the projects he has worked on, but mainly wanted to focus of his newest work Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes (2016). Within the information for this project found on Martins’s website he states that “This project attempts to understand our relationship to death, particularly violent death (namely suicide), and photography’s role in this process.”. His work is also a note to how the media has an inability to represent death.

Shown above are just a few examples from the series of images, in the work he also includes archival images, and various objects and evidence to do with deaths.
The paper plane shown on the left was inspired by a person who through one out of their prison window. In his most recent exhibition of the work he created an installation of the paper planes.

Destinerrance: The Place of the Dead is the Place of Photography at Centro de Arte José de Guimarães, Guimarães (Portugal) (2017)

I thought this was a very effective an interesting way to display this piece of work, a paper plane is such a physical object, made to be picked up and thrown that it does not impact the viewer by just seeing it through a photograph.

The photograph of the rope, shown in the centre, comes as part of a series of its own. It was only in his most recent exhibition that they were even a part of the exhibited work.

Destinerrance: The Place of the Dead is the Place of Photography at Centro de Arte José de Guimarães, Guimarães (Portugal) (2017)

They were displayed in a darkened room on their own. In a way these images are the most sensitive and intimate out of all his work shown within this project, and I can understand why it is only now that he has decided to show them. These are ropes which people have used to commit suicide, they’re never shown in the media but are just put away in evidence. The images are very powerful, through having a black background you are forced to see them, they are not photographed to be ignored.

The image to the right of the rope, shows a crumpled piece of paper. This was inspired by the creases found on suicide notes which Martins has recreated and photographed.
Within his exhibitions the work is shown with text which Martins has not made available online. The text he uses is interchangeable and can be put next to any of his pieces of work.

It was amazing to see all of the work Edgar Martins has created, seeing how he has explored the medium of photography in different ways throughout the years, always trying something new.


Research: Crash


J.G Ballard’s book Crash (1973) is a novel about symphorophilia specifically car-crash sexual fetishism. The main character in the book becomes sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car crashes, and fantasises about dying with a particular celebrity in a crash which he plans meticulously. Every detail is thought through. Although this isn’t the direction my project is going, it was interesting to read some of the story to see how people sexualise cars and being in crashes with them. With how I’ve been photographing the cars, very clean and particular it’s easy to see how they can be fetishised.

‘Mechaphile’ is when someone is sexually attracted to machines. I discovered this through a video on Facebook on a man who has claimed to have slept with 1000 cars before settling down with one. Before I had begun my project I had no idea people such as these existed, I did not think of it as a fetish, but was just interested in why people name their cars. My eyes have now been opened to a world I never knew existed, and whether I’m better off I’m not sure. I was very shocked however to see the video posted on Facebook, seemed a bit of a coincidence that I was doing this project and it suddenly popped up on my screen as I’ve never seen an article on the subject before.

Even though these aren’t the subjects I’m trying to show in my photographs, it’s interesting to see how they might be interpreted when put on display and even though the subject matter was a little disturbing, J.G Ballard is a very good writer, but perhaps I’ll be reading one of his other books.


Lecture 4: Dissertation Preparation

10,000 word written project on a freely formulated topic in/on photography.
Structured into chapters.
Includes an introduction and conclusion.
Can be 2-5 chapters long.

Broken down:
Introduction – 1000 words
Conclusion – 1000 words
8000 left for chapters = 2700 words for each chapter

All chapters relate to the same thing (same research)

Tutors will not proof read the draft
Publishing Trading Centre
– proof reading services we can use to look over our dissertations for spelling, structure, grammar issues before submitting.

Use Harvard referencing


  • Try and write what you’re doing in your dissertation in the introduction (can you summarise it in the first sentence?).
  • Have a focussed path.
  • Use a very limited set of key concepts (dissertation examples show this well)
  • How many images? Enough to address your topic. For example if you were doing it on mass production you would need to include a lot of imagery.

Questions to ask when trying to think of a topic:

  • What are you interested in?
  • Photographers?
  • Literature?

What should be included in the proposal:

  • What we want to tackle.
  • Research.
  • How we plan to use it.
  • Related to visual case studies.

Example dissertation marks:

Reporting from the Bushes, The photograph’s version of events
Mark: 67

Still Time for the Moving Image
Mark: 72
Comments: Ambitious, interesting area of visual culture. Spelling/grammar.

Dialogue and the burden of representation. Perspectives from the work of Alfredo Jaar and Susan Meiselas
Mark: 80
Comments: Ambitious, showed independent thinking. Alternative reading of exhibition. Structured, resolves the issue.


Gender and cars

Just as with men and women, the ‘bodies’ of cars can be interpreted as feminine and masculine. Within my research, I have looked at Gender (2012) by Harriet Bradley to begin looking at the characteristics we give male and female bodies, to see if this can be translated to cars. Bradley writes that “The ideal male body is the same as a sportsman, hard, well-built and muscular…” (Bradley, 2012, p169). So far, the only car I have come across which was called Ben, which is predominantly seen as a male name was a rat look VW Beetle (rat look means it has a rusty style) which goes against this male body stereotype, or perhaps it was because of the old style the car had that the owner went for the name Ben, thinking it resembled an old man.

Moving on to women’s bodies Bradley states “Women’s bodies, by contrast, are sexualised, displayed scantily clad, and the ideal is of thinness…” (Bradley, 2012, p169). This does not translate as well when thinking about cars, however slim line cars tend to be feminised more than trucks or bigger cars. The cars I’ve come across which have been given feminine names are a Porsche (Penelope), VW Beetle (The Bitch) and two VW Camper Vans (Goddess and Amber). Cars such as Beetles and Camper Vans tend to be given female names more than male, perhaps this is due to their curves.

I’m sure that most people do not think this deeply into why they’ve named their car Ben or Penelope, and when talking to people about their cars they either do not have a reason, or it was the previous owner who named it. However, I think it’s interesting to think about, even if they’re not thinking about it, perhaps subconsciously elements of the car influence the decision.