Alameda Gran Torino, 1974 by Robert Bechtle
I had been putting together a shoot for the past month that somehow involved children and automobiles. I didn't know what I really wanted to say, but I liked the juxtaposition of children...not old enough to drive, with large, epic, gas guzzling cars of an earlier era. I liked the sculptural qualities of the cars...I liked them as big objects that had their own personalities and I wanted them isolated on white. And the kids...? Well...I have been into photographing my 6 year old son, and I thought it would be neat to try to tap into the kid brain again...but packaged as a commercial photograph.
Shannon Amos and Veronica Sjoen are the stylists that I use as often as I can on all of these productions. Shannon calls me a few days before the shoot sounding like she just had a revelation: I realize what our reference point should be for these shots. It is the work of Robert Bechtle. The cars, the families, the body language and the clothing. His work is where we should be steering this project towards. I want to dress the kids in our pictures like the kids in his paintings.
I hadn't seen Bechtles work in a while...it didn't trigger and immediate image in my head. A quick google search delivers the painting of the station wagon "Alameda Gran Torino, 1974 " and it all comes back. I think his work was stuck in my sub-concious...and this was it's commercialized cousin bubbling to the surface.
Shannon hunted for the props and wardrobe of a Bechtle painting. I hunted down the cars and the kids and we shot the pictures on Saturday. The images here are Bechtles paintings. I'll share my images in the days ahead.
all images copyright Robert Bechtle