Gear: Book Review: Drive

Book Review: Drive

Avatar By Benjamin Shahrabani
December 12, 2014
14 comments

The book: Drive

Author: Andrew Bush

Pages: 146, hardcover

Purchase: Click here

Andrew Bush is an artist, but instead of using a brush, his preferred implement is a camera lens. Born in 1956, in St. Louis, Missouri, Bush studied the craft of photography at Yale University, and today his work can be found in many major collections around the world. From 1989 through 1997, Bush took a series photographs of people driving on Los Angeles’s roads, a city well known for its car culture, and other parts of the United States. The collection, known as the Vector Portraits, is published in his book Drive.

Bush captures his subjects, ordinary citizens [and local famous-for-nothing celeb Angelyne!], driving their cars down the road. For the most part, the cars’ drivers and occupants are completely oblivious and unaware that someone is observing them through his lens–each photograph was taken from a camera mounted to the passenger side of Bush’s own car, often traveling at speed. Consequently, each photograph is taken in the same format. The premise sounds pretty simple, and unassuming, but what makes Drive special is that each photo is truly unique. Yes, Bush captures the same tableau each time, but every detail aside from the format is different: the people, the cars, their expressions. Each composition is accompanied by a caption–“Couple (and children) going northwest at 37 mph on West Grand Avenue in Sun City, Arizona, on a Friday evening in January 1992” for example. Those are the facts, but what about the particulars? One can gaze upon each image and see them. Some people look like they enjoyed having their picture taken–the girl with her eyes closed blowing a kiss. The guy with speakers in his convertible. Others less so. Even so, the images are timeless, each driver caught in an unguarded moment, engaged in a relatable, mundane task–driving.

The book is capped off with an essay by culture critic Patt Morrison, as well as an insightful interview of the author by Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator of photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he discusses the portraits–how people reacted when they realized they were being photographed, how and why he selected them, and more technical aspects of the project. The cars portrayed in Drive are varied, and there are some interesting ones, but you’re not buying this book for the cars. You’re buying this book for the people driving them, and the moments in their lives immortalized on America’s asphalt.

Purchase Drive.

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/01/11/375922456/mexican-carpoolers-a-photographers-view-of-truck-bed-commuters

A similar project that might be of interest. A photographer’s documentation of Mexican flatbed carpoolers.

ACFowles
ACFowles

One of the interesting things about cars is that the owners and occupants treat them as a private space even when they are in full view to the pubic. As a result, these photos give a unique snapshot observation into the private lives of individuals and families as their paths cross with that of the photographer, never seen before and never to be seen again. In addition, by ensuring that the camera angle is always the same, and by minimising the intrusion of the backdrop & surroundings, distractions are eliminated and the viewer’s attention is drawn to the microcosm of… Read more »

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

What a brilliant body of work. Most of us spend so much of our lives in our cars, driving to and back from work, running to the grocery store, to the dentist or to visit a friend. And more often than not we are alone, in this most intimate of private spaces, oblivious to much else that is happening around us but our innermost thoughts and keeping to the rules of motoring engagement. Like Edward Hopper’s paintings, the artist allows us a glimpse into these private little worlds, at a moment in time when the driver is at their most… Read more »

ACFowles
ACFowles

Completely agree with you, Frank. A glimpse into people’s private worlds.

J Clavue
J Clavue

A Wonderful Artist, see an interesting article here http://www.pomona.edu/magazine/pcmwin09/FSflashclickhitthegas.shtml

Martin James
Martin James

” Much Ado About Nothing ” sums this book up quite nicely . Seriously folks . Every note you play is not profound – Every car you restore is not a ‘ Classic ‘ .. and in this case not every book written or published is worth the paper its written on

Josh V
Josh V

You’re the worst kind of human

Josh V
Josh V

People can write whatever they want, otherwise we would just be stuck with all the crap you read. Also, serious question here, why do you put spaces in between all of your punctuation?

Kuroneko
Kuroneko

Like those who use apostrophe for plural’s, and double spaces at the end of lines, punctuating punctuation marks is an affectation of ignorance, and undertaken because they believe it gives them an appearance of ‘education’. At least according to someone much wiser than I… Neko.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

I see insane Mr. TJ Martin has returned from nut island!

“Martin James”? Your caustic words betray you, sir. I hope Petrolicious takes swift action.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

I take it you have taken the time to look through the actual book rather than review a review?

Jeff Lannigan
Jeff Lannigan

These are fun. Evidently an XJS provides one with an edge-of-your seat driving experience.