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April 30, 2022

Beautiful Kodachrome Photos of Parked Cars in the 1970s

Cars were an indispensible aspect of twentieth-century culture, both for their utility and aesthetics. From 1974 to 1976, Langdon Clay photographed the cars he encountered while wandering the streets of New York City and nearby Hoboken, New Jersey at night.

“Walking from a friend’s apartment at the end of an evening back to my place, I began to see curious things inside the cars on the street, like a tire nestled like a passenger in the front seat,” photographer Langdon Clay tells Road & Track. “Then I studied the cars themselves, their design details. Finally I stepped physically (and mentally) back a bit to regard the whole scene—a background field with a foreground vehicle. When those two elements clicked—in color, or light, or design—then I knew I was on to something… I looked for cars that would fit with and work with the background. Or the reverse, cars that clashed and looked out of place with where they were parked.”

Shot in Kodachrome with a Leica and deftly lit with then new sodium vapor lights, the pictures feature a distinct array of makes and models set against the gritty details of their surrounding urban and architectural environments, and occasionally the ghostly presence of people.

Clay's new book, Cars—New York City, 1974-1976, is published by Steidl.
























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