Monday, June 8, 2020

Backroads Treasures: Old Cars

Old Ford Pickup, Catoosa County, Georgia
Nikkormat, 28mm Vivitar f2.5 lens, Kodachrome 64

My domain is the old, the odd, and the ordinary; the beautiful, the abandoned, and the about to vanish away. I am a visual historian of an earlier America and a recorder of the interface between man and nature; a keeper of vanishing ways of life.

As I wrote in my previous post, not long after moving to the Chattanooga area in 1970 I began occasional Sunday afternoon rambles with my camera along the backroads of neighboring North Georgia, especially in Catoosa County. There were plenty of backroads to explore, and quite a few interesting things to see, including old cars and trucks. Some were set up beside the road, apparently in an effort to sell them, while others appeared to have been abandoned to rust away in someone’s side yard.

Old Chevy, Catoosa County, Georgia
(Probably 1934) Rolleicord Vb, Ektachrome

When we moved to a remote, rural area in North Georgia’s Walker County in the late ‘80s, I found several more interesting old vehicles that had literally been put “out to pasture.”

Many more old cars and trucks were found in the mid ‘90s as I traveled 35,000 miles of backroads in the South and Midwest while tracking down Rock City barns for my book Rock City Barns: A Passing Era and were tucked away in a folder that I labeled “Found On Road Dead.” Since then, I’ve been picking up more pictures wherever my travels around the United States have taken me, including Hawaii and Alaska.

White Trash
Rhea County, Tennessee
Canon EOS A2, 28-105 f3.5-4.5 EF lens, T-Max 40

I have enough photos for a book now, to be titled, of course, Found On Road Dead, but I still have to write the text and get help identifying the make and year of the old vehicles, some of which I’ve never seen before or since. And that book will have to take its place behind my current project, Lost Barns of Rock City, a book of photos of Rock City barns I’ve found that were not in the old records Rock City Gardens gave me when I started the original book project. I have other projects in the pipeline as well. I hope I live long enough to complete and publish at least some of them.

But, as my oldest son Rob, a very fine and accomplished writer told me, "Never die with all your projects finished."

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo
To the glory of God alone

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