Our correspondent in Sweden, Niels Moesgaard Jorgensen, spotted this green Suzuki recently.
We’ve been logging green cars as the colour looks like a minority taste yet metallic mid-greens can be very flattering. Additionally, the image prompted me to think about how difficult (for me) it is to get good night time images of cars, or rather cars under street lights. My photos end up murky and lack the deep black of this image.
If a photo at dusk is wonderful for bringing out contrasts, the urban night-light image shows a narrowest range yet it has its own atmosphere. As I said before, I once saw a Mercedes W123 under street lights outside the concert hall in Frankfurt. It’s glued to my mind’s eye. The interaction of the light and the metal left a very strong impression on me, though it might only have been a few moments where I paid attention to it. Words are probably inadequate and provide only an impression: saturated colours from the paint surface, deep coloured highlights where the lamps reflected directly, the chrome showing up as a strong white against the duller side glass, the interior merely a few shadows. It’s an impression that only a really good photographer with a good camera can capture. For good measure, the print ought to be big too.
This image (above) makes use of light, not colour. The monochrome turns your attention to the geometry of the houses and the space. What you don’t dwell on is the surface lustre. The car is there for scale, not as an object of interest. It’s a good photograph, one interested in different things though.
Turning back to Niels’ image, the green has been dampened down to grey but the normally colourless upper surfaces now obey the lighting rules of the sodium lamps. The graphics also dominate the sculpting. Red stands out and rescues the green – that oblong the rear lamp is suddenly important for the graphics of the car.
Do you wonder if car designers ever get to review their cars at night? Or what would the effect be of sculpting the clay model in a studio with extremely skewed lighting? I suspect they don’t do this and that a car looks good or not at night is a matter of chance.