XXIII

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1 February - 31 March 2008

Dedicated to our dear friend, "Auntie" Margaretta Warren Thurlow, who will celebrate her 97th birthday this year, as a true American classic.

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American Classic

     This exhibition is the first (and only, thus far) part of a wide-ranging, self-directed project exploring the American love affair with the automobile and, indeed, all wheeled vehicles that propel us faster and further than nature originally intended.

     Although I might have conceived the project earlier, my first earnest attempt at it began in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the summer of 2001, and I continue to work on it from time to time, albeit in a somewhat more relaxed fashion, with no clear or fixed ending for it on my horizon.

     All of the fruits of this grand project were to be presented eventually under the banner, "American Centaurs." Because the project may now never end or come together as one magnum opus, I have decided to present it in smaller bits and drabs from time to time. 

American Classic #1. Clifton, Virginia. 2002  Charles Albert Huckins

     This particular exhibit is the first bit of "American Centaurs" to be presented publicly and represents no more than an hour or so of shooting from one street corner in the charming little village of Clifton, Virginia, not far from my own home. The occasion was the "Cruising Clifton Labor Day Car Show" which took place on 2 September 2002.

     After admiring a beautifully restored and remarkably maintained 1934 Chevrolet sedan, I happened to stop at the next street corner and look back. As I paused there to decide what my next move might be, I noticed someone else admiring the same vehicle in much the same manner that I had, and then another person, and another, and so on.

     It finally dawned on me that there was a certain, very appealing universality to this phenomenon, and so I began to document this small, quiet scene playing out before me again and again, only with different players each time. This exhibit then, represents something of a microcosm of my originally intended study of American centaurs and the love affair they have with their cars and other wheeled vehicles.

     Making all of these photographs somehow put me in mind of Norman Rockwell and his classic manifestations of the enduring nature of the American spirit, just now settling in to cope with the post 9/11 world in its own quiet, confident way. And my ego is not unpleased with the association with that great American artist, even if I had to make the connection myself.

 

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