Andrew Bush – Drive

Copyright Andrew Bush 2008 courtesy Yale University Press

The concept of photographing those who co-exist with us on the crowded and packed Freeways, Highways and Expressways in the urban centers of the United States is intriguing and the subject of Andrew Bush’s photobook Drive.

In particular, Bush is photographing his own locale area of Southern California, probably the most densely packed Freeways in America. Yes, they are called Freeways because there are not any paid tolls, but are not called Expressways because they so crowded, you cannot drive fast. A fact that I observed when I moved here from the MidWest many, many years ago, and which still goes unchanged today.

The obvious direct flash reminds me of the early NYC photographs by Weegee. It flatness the pictorial plane, but opens shadows, yet casts unique shadows of its own making. As a note, to be driving on the Freeways in Southern California, lost in your thoughts, and then to have a flash go off suddenly to your left can be very disconcerting, especially if you are near some dubious neighborhoods.

Indirectly, this book is about self-identity, as many choose the car they drive as they might select their ward robe. Likewise, the condition of the exterior and interior probably is biographical regarding how well a person cares for the cleanliness and condition of what they drive. My neighbor rigorously hand-washes his cars every weekend, while I wait until I have accumulated the proper amount of dust and debris before going down to the local car wash for a quick once-through.

Looking at these photographs, you might suspect that those living in Southern California either drive run-down wrecks or old model vintage sports cars, but this is more of a selection of cars that appeals to Bush. New cars lack character, without dents, scratches and appearing homogenized, missing the character imbued in those cars driven by those who on the fringe.

This book is also about investigating sanctuaries, places where you might feel that you are alone, in seclusion, even while rolling through highly public space. In the car, individuals can roll up the windows, perhaps turn on the radio and exist in a private place of their own making.

by Douglas Stockdale

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