This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with Sukhmeet Kamboj, the owner of an amazingly clean Volkswagen GTI MK6. The forecast predicted 50% chance of rain and we decided to take our chances.
Bring it on, world.
As I was gathering my equipment before the shoot I realized that this was the first time I’ve actually shot a car in extensive detail. I’ve pretty much only setup really last minute and on the spot shoots that take roughly 20 minutes and only aim and shoot for one shot. I realized that this was pretty much the first in depth “feature style” shooting I’ve done in a few years with a car. Time to put in 100%.
We met at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and decided to use its architecture and many lines to get warmed up. I’ll have to admit, I absolutely love using the elements in symmetry and line in my compositions, I’m a sucker for it. And the Kauffman, man.
Leading lines for days, son.
The storm clouds were strolling through and with each passing minute the light would change. Patches of darkness and light here and there. Made for a really good time and made for some pretty soft light considering that it was three in the afternoon. Photographer’s wet dream, no doubt.
KCDUBS OR BUST.
If you are in Kansas City and own a VW or an Audi and you’re not involved or familiar with this crew, shame on you. These dudes are probably the most active community I’ve had the pleasure of being around. I highly suggest you put them on your radar and get involved.
It was about this point that I realized, “Damn, shooting cars is tough.” How do you photograph a car in different ways that keeps things interesting without feeling like you’re recycling the same shot. Because let’s be real, it’s a car, and a car’s arsenal of poses is pretty much limited for the shoot day without any wardrobe changes. It’s not like I could go swap shoes, well, I suppose you could, but that’s missing the point.
Shit gets insanely tricky. I really don’t aspire to be the dude that just regurgitates the same amount of information across a million different shots. I try to edit down and get variety. Even if environments change, the information can still be the same and it’s the information I like to change up. With cars, things can repeat themselves real quick and I was struggling to figure out how I could get uniquely different shots.
LINES ON LINES ON LINES ON LINES
Shit. Am I repeating myself? Switch to the wide. Now.
After this shot I told Sukh that I was pretty much out of ideas and we should start packing… after one more shot. And before that one more shot, a security guard showed up and told us we couldn’t do what we were doing and he kindly asked us to leave.
So Sukh and I mobbed up on him, told him he didn’t know shit, lit a trash can on fire, hopped in our cars, and vtakkked out of that bitch.
Which is all a complete lie. We packed up told him to have a good day and efficiently left the premises achieving our 30mpg city cruisin’.
So where to now? I want to go somewhere dirty. Let’s bum out under a bridge.
Because of the rain coming through the place was soaked. I wish it was more uniformly soaked, but we had a few small puddles to play with, and it was AWESOME.
And as far as stumbling into locations, this was one hell of a spot to just stumble upon. I was having a freakin’ blast trying to make shots left and right.
Need for Speed Underground 2
Tough guys park over puddles. And if you ain’t puddle parking, you ain’t shit.
Joking aside, parking over puddles is pretty dope and translates all too well in the photographic medium. Jussayin’.
At this point I knew we were overstaying our welcome under this sketchy bridge surrounded by trash and potentially stabby folk in the bushes, so I pulled out some weird out of my camera bag and brainstormed on how I could get a completely different shot. I looked around and realized I could climb up pretty high on one of the support beams while not dying and get a unique angle or two.
I got the last shot from this spot and I realized I hadn’t even shot the interior. So we left to find something more airy, and then just stumbled into another sketchy bridge.
These seats are pretty awesome I might add. Surprisingly comfy and a seat that really holds you like you want to be held, that’s for damn sure.
And so we wrapped up our shoot because the rain was starting to really come down. We called it a wrap and then I realized, man, I want to make a portrait of this guy.
Something I think I need to do more often is incorporate the builders of these projects. Because cars are translations of ideas and thoughts that originated from a human. We forget the human element so much when we think about cars and I have to remind myself that all the time. And how I like to view it, some people paint, some people mod cars. It’s an artform to express, a blank canvas to create. It’s definitely more similar that you really imagine.
If you’re interested in this dude, definitely follow him on instagram @SSK527.
I’m insanely happy with this shoot. Even if you think the photos are terrible, the process of doing it, the challenges in making a lot of imagery with one car, it really just got my brain and my eyes going. I cannot wait to do more feature style photography with cars. Rain, shine, snow, whatever.
Here’s to learning new things and challenging yourself.
Here’s to puddle parking, no doubt.
And while I’m at it, I posted this on Sukh’s birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DUDE, HERE ARE YOUR DOPE PHOTOS.
#ASIANDOWORK // #PUDDLEPARKERS