When I quickly planned my trip to Old Car City, USA, all I thought about was the photography. I did, however, cover the basics. I checked the weather, I watched a couple of YouTube videos, and I visited their website (I've added their link to the top left picture). I didn't put too much thought into the environment which is super natural. So on Day-1 in spite of the well-kept yard, I was slightly freaked out, city girl meets tangible nature.
I was also taken aback by the immediate friendliness of everyone from my cab driver Elvis, who serenaded me on the drive there, to the property owner Dean, Rocky who takes care of the place, on-site musician Fast Eddie, and generous local photographers, Clint and Marco. As a photographer I expected distant politeness (we blend), but at Old Car City, USA, it isn’t like that – they are friendly, welcoming, and warm.
Rocky with his easy manner, and southern drawl warned me that there was no way that I’d cover everything in one day. He was right of course, and I ended up staying an additional day that only slightly increased the fraction that I was able to cover. Huge is a small word to describe the 34-acre car city. My first impression was that it was overwhelming because one didn’t know where to look because there was so much to see.
I usually shoot alone I’m used to it. I like listening to music while I work, and using the Holga requires thought (at least for me it does). So having company who didn’t mind looking for shots, and talking photography was really nice. Marco and Clint are the perfect balance of north-south friends, who are both digital shooters. These guys were great. Not only did they know the city like the backs of their hands they were unbelievably generous with their time, and "Off" mosquito repellant; a must have trust me.
I kept thinking that at any moment they were going to ditch me to begin their own work. They didn’t. We hung out the entire morning and I was treated to history, stories, cautions, and their personal city preferences. I was extremely lucky that we met because although I had did my homework, I was not prepared for the maze-sized car city.
OCC was like the unexpected present that a kid gets on Christmas Day. The city is just a cool place to hang out. A large part of me resented the fact that I had X-amount of time, and my shooting pace was break-neck. I wanted to decelerate and listen to Fast Eddie play the piano, and take everything in. Although Dean was super busy he kindly split his time between me and CBS Sunday Morning who was there filming a segment – they were also very nice.
On Day-2 I was left to wander completely on my own. Deliberately getting lost among 4,000 antique cars in natural decay with a camera is the best! I heeded every caution I was taught, thus, I did not see any snakes, I avoided poison ivy, and I returned home with pictures expressive of my eye, warm memories, and terrific new friends.