PDN Photo of the Day

Picturing the Automobile

Autophoto,” a new show at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, explores the long, complicated love affair between photographers and cars. Opening April 20 and on view until September 24, the show includes more then 500 works by 90 photographers, spanning the last century, from Lartigue’s racing studies to Stéphane Couturier’s view of a Toyota factory. Among the images are photographs that celebrate the thrilling speed and mobility that cars first offered in the early 20th century. Others are billed as “auto portraits,” (a play on the French word for self-portrait), which depict cars at rest, parked on city streets or used as status symbol-backdrops for portraits and framed by their proud owners. There are photographers who have used cars as framing devices, such as Lee Friedlander and Óscar Fernando Gómez, who employ windows and mirrors in their compositions, and photographers such as Robert Adams, who record the ways the needs of cars have altered the landscape. Based on an idea by Xavier Barral and Philippe Séclier, who curated the show, “Autophoto” covers a topic so vast and ubiquitous as to be nearly invisible in everyday life. In photographs, our relationship with cars becomes easier to see.

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