/ 2017 / Book /

Urban Cars

  • Prize
    Gold in Book (Series Only)/Monograph, 2nd Place winner in Book (Series Only)
  • Photographer
    Douglas Ljungkvist, United States
  • Website

Since 2007 I’ve been photographing vintage cars, mostly in Brooklyn’s urban and industrial
landscapes. The work has matured into a cohesive typology ready for publication.
The project is a study of form, design, and beauty documenting cars mostly between the
1960’s and late 1970's. The cars are photographed similar to formal portraits, in profile
and isolated from people and other cars. The visual relationship between the cars and
their environment is more important to me than the brand, model, production year, or
engine size.
I suspect my process is similar to a nature photographer looking for exotic animals to
photograph in the wild. It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Whether on
my scooter or on foot I’ve perfected a one second glance down a block looking for unusual
shapes or colors to identify something to add to the collection. I’ve even followed a few
of them on my scooter until they parked and the owner walked away.
American cars of this era are still popular for their (masculine) aesthetics and raw
power. They were built with individual expression in mind, to be seen and heard, at a time
when everything was big and bold. As mechanical cars they are fairly easy to maintain and
tinker with for hobbyists. The European cars in the collection reflect longevity and
craftsmanship, attributes that are rare in today’s modern and generically designed cars.
The work is also a celebration of 1970’s vernacular color photography and the freedom,
expression, and adventure that the automobile represented in American popular culture at a
time when people didn’t worry about the price of gasoline.
The project catalogue includes more than 750 cars.

I am a Brooklyn based photographer originally from Sweden. Most of my personal work explores vernacular beauty.
My process is intuitive and I am emotionally drawn to scenes that are urban, graphic, colorful, and quiet. Mood and atmosphere are important aspects in much of my work with strong subtexts of time, identity, and memory.
Formally, I am interested in the study of color, geometric shapes, and space.

Awards Winner - 2013 PDN Photo Annual
Winner - 2012 New York Photo Festival Invitational Book category
Gold - 2011 Px3 Fine Art Book proposal
Silver - 2011 Px3 Overall Book proposal
Finalist - 2011 London Street Photography Festival
Honorable Mention - 2010 IPA Awards, Architecture/Building categories