VEHICLES AS RUINS: BACKGROUND


All are 35mm shots, coloured mostly with Faber Castell water-colour pencils but also with some Marshall's oils. The prints from which these were taken are small, with an image size of about 135 x 210mm or 5.3 x 8 inches, and all are on Ilford Art 300 paper. Frances wanted an easily portable portfolio to take to Arles in 2016, because we would not be exhibiting, and they are on Art 300 because it is the best paper in the world for hand colouring; or at least, for the style of hand colouring that Frances likes. 


The theme was a long time in gestation. The oldest pictures here date back to the late 1980s or early 1990s, when we lived in Guadalupe, California, and were shot on Ilford XP2 chromogenic film. Her preferred film nowadays is Ilford Delta 3200, which may sound a bit eccentric given that many of these are tripod shots, but she likes the tonality, and grain hardly matters in hand coloured pictures printed on the strongly textured paper. 

Besides, if she does have to shoot hand held, Delta 3200 allows very high shutter speeds: she suffers from an hereditary essential tremor, medicalese for "shaky hands, but don't worry about it too much". It's astonishing that someone with this condition can be one of the best hand colorists in the world (there are two more hand colouring galleries on our other site) but there it is. Everyone says "You must have very steady hands to do this" but she has the least steady hands of anyone I know, even to the extent that it is hard for her to raise a cup of coffee to her lips. As she says, "I can't hold my drink". 



The most recent picture in the series was shot on Delta 3200 in late June 2016: the Citroen 2CV. We came across it by accident one day; went back about a month later; and found that the other cars on the site had been towed away and the Citroen had been stripped of the plants that had grown over it and badly damaged, with the bonnet and front wings removed. 



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Words and pictures copyright (c) Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz 2016