588-Verbenas on the Desert

by Phil Jung

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Artist Statement

 

I see this group of images as a contemporary look at our social landscape through the windshields, or windscreens, of parked cars. I am fascinated by how these unique personal spaces can be rendered in a photographic image. A car's interior defines the line between public and private space. While peering into these spaces, I wonder if the interior, often littered with personal articles, can describe the way language, religion, economy, government and other cultural phenomena play a role in the owner's life. The largest challenge of the project is taking something as iconic as the automobile and adding something new to a conversation that has been going on since its inception. The gasoline-powered vehicles that were introduced in 1896 represented freedom, hope, exploration and independence—quintessentially American ideals. By 1947, when the photographer Wright Morris made his image of an aging Model T, those early ideals had already begun to deteriorate. Like Morris's pictures, Windscreen is about a culture that is disappearing. When combing through neighborhoods for cars, I look first for the way light enters a car and renders color. If I find nothing inside its cabin that tells something about its owner, I move on. Above all, the car needs to be drivable or just recently taken off the road. If a car sits for too long uninhabited, it loses something. The composite of this space reflects who we are, where we come from and possibly where we are going.

 

Phil Jung

 

Born in New York, Phil Jung has lived and studied photography on both coasts. He is currently living in the Boston area and teaching photography classes to undergraduates at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), in Boston, and at Rockland Community College, in New York. He is deeply committed to the field of photography and photographic education.

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