Classic Cars in Camden
Photographs by Jim Hughes
Jim Hughes was the founding editor of the original Camera Arts magazine, for which he received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He was formerly editor of Camera 35 and the Photography Annual, among other publications. His books include the definitive biography W. Eugene Smith: Shadow & Substance, the monograph Ernst Haas in Black and White, and The Birth of a Century: Early Color Photographs of America.
There is no opening reception planned.
“A photograph generally documents a moment, a narrow slice of time that ceases to exist at the instant of exposure. Such a photograph may at first glance appear to be a visual memory of a real place or event, but in truth it is always more than that. Any photograph is colored by perception and personal history — generally, mine and the viewer’s. My images are, at bottom and inevitably, collaborations: private dialogues, more metaphor than record. Mostly, I photograph the familiar in unfamiliar ways.
I tend not to look for photographs, even though I wear my cameras the way most people wear shirts. So in an important sense, I don’t take photographs. They take me. Nor do I take a lot of exposures, although I do try to carry a camera wherever I go. I have been involved in photography long enough to know what makes a good picture and how best to get what I want without a lot of wasted effort. Call it instinct, or intuition. But I have been known to return to a scene again and again, sometimes over a period of months and occasionally years, waiting for the exact light I believe I need to make a picture I have visualized. Even then, change is a constant, and I try to stay open to unanticipated possibilities.
This series of photographs was started in 2009, shortly after my wife and I sold our Brooklyn brownstone after 45 years and moved full time to our summer home in Camden, where we had always envisioned retiring. I have been exploring our new home town ever since, mostly walking main streets and back roads with an eye towards doing a photographic portrait of the place. That one is still in progress. But in 2010 or so, a strange thing happened: while making the inevitable transition to digital photography from film, I discovered that the streets of Camden, every summer, seemed to become a virtual magnet for the kinds of classic automobiles that I had never had the means to collect myself. They were everywhere, in unexpected places at unpredictable times. All I had to do was look, and chase them down. So I did.
Thus began this second project, which will, it seems, be seen before the first.
The details of course will be found in the pictures. And in the “Notes to the Photographs,” the numbered Exhibition List copies of which are available at the front of the Gallery. Viewers are asked to pick one up when they begin their tour, then return it for others to use in making their way through my Labyrinth of classics. As a writer who photographs, I think of my color prints as sidewalk stories.” — Jim Hughes