A severely decayed, 1930s Bentley residing in Huddersfield’s Oakes area; that was simply too tempting a prospect to pass up.
This car belonged to an old friend who was thinking of selling it and that closing window of opportunity provided all the impetus I needed to get me out of my little art studio and into the field with my camera for an impromptu photo shoot.
I’ve been a keen photographer since I was a teenager and I like to think that it sits as a skill very neatly next to my illustration and design work. And I was very excited about my subject.
The car had been open to the elements for decades and was in a delightful state of shabbiness. Plants were growing up through the radiator, the windscreen was AWOL, and a few birds were getting comfy in the dash but, and all respect to Bentley’s engineers, the frame was still solid.
This vehicle is a classic so the approach had to be black and white. The garden provided a suitable natural leafy location; enhancing the car and not stealing any attention anyway from it. And the photos were taken late in the afternoon when the sunlight was warm and gentle,
(you photographers out there will know how harsh midday sun can create problematic reflections on shiny surfaces).
I spent a little time getting to know the car, looking for the features I wanted to highlight and considering the best viewpoint to shoot from. Experience has taught me that you need to consider angles and vantage points carefully if you’re going to get the best from your subject. This was important as moving the car was simply not possible as that would have required a tow-truck and plenty of patience. This ‘old boy’ was fragile.
If I was going to take a shot of a new car I might have washed it, dressed the tyres and possibly put the headlights on for the photograph. But for this model, in these circumstances, I didn’t really have to do very much at all. Mother Nature provided the corrosion and extreme weathering art direction, and I just had to capture it.
In addition to possessing the car my friend was also the owner of a three-legged cat which was happy to pose on the bonnet. That meant working freehand rather than with tripod as the cat had a limited attention span – of about 2 seconds.
I got some nice close-up details but my main shot is a wide view showing the decayed but still impressively graceful lines of this 1930 Bentley 8-litre.
It’s now available from my web-site and select retailers as both a greeting card, (no message), and as a limited edition art-print. Car and cat both have a few miles on the clock but I think they look great together.