On a trip to Modernism Week in Palm Springs earlier this year I visited the home of a prominent art and vintage car collector. While attending to a glass of distilled spirits in his library, I was entranced by a pair of outsize Vector Portraits by Los Angeles photographer Andrew Bush. Initially garnering my attention were the vehicles depicted: a 1968 Porsche 911 and a 1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero.
Unlike static portraits, these dynamic documentary-style images captured their subjects in motion, moving through time and space while cocooned within the semi-private environment of their personal vehicles.
A number of artists today describe themselves as street photographers when their milieu is not actually the street, but sidewalks and other pedestrian thoroughfares. The Vector Portraits are genuine street (and highway) photography.
The Vector Portraits were shot between 1989 and 2010. To obtain the images, Andrew fixed a medium-format camera on a tripod directed out the passenger side window of his car, driving until he came upon an inspiring subject. As can be seen, some drivers noticed the camera, while others remained oblivious to its presence. No motor drive was used; generally only a single photo was taken.
Images were captured on 70mm or 6x9cm medium format film and C-printed on Kodak Endura or Fuji Crystal resin-coated paper. Meant to be experienced near full-scale, finished portraits are printed in generous dimensions up to a substantial 50 x 60” (127 x 153 cm) in size.
In line with the Vector moniker, titles of all the portraits incorporate the speed and direction of the subject at the time they were photographed.
Most of Andrew shots incorporate subjects driving vintage machinery. With few exceptions, the series encompasses vehicles from the 1950s through the 1970s. Andrew has expressed a preference for cars of this era due to their classic lines and aged patina.
The images here are my personal favourites. Not surprisingly, all feature subjects driving original, unmodified automobiles of the 1960s.
Portraits from the Vector Series have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tinguely Museum in Basel.
Images courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York