22 November 2021

End Of The Road: Photographing the last of London's Classic Cars

The End of Classic Cars in London?

Ray Knox, a photographer based in London, started photographing the last classic cars remaining on London's streets ahead of the extension of the ULEZ. 

"I had started going for late-night walks during lockdown and spotted many of these classic cars and campervans parked under the eerie glare of streetlights. With the extension of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) due to start 25th October 2021, I knew many of these vehicles would undoubtedly get forced off the road. The decision to photograph them was prompted when I was forced to sell my cherished 20-year-old Fiat Punto because it failed to meet the emissions requirements.

I also felt it was important to document them before they finally disappeared from the capital’s streets and part of our motoring heritage is lost. My favourite vehicle is the VW campervan, I knew the scene had potential, but I had to return to the location three or four times to have the ideal conditions to make the photograph.

The image of the Fiat 126 with a Ferrari sticker I find amusing, I wonder if it makes the car go any faster.

I find these older vehicles captivating. They have a charm and personality that very few modern cars have. There is definitely an element of nostalgia behind my project and I can’t help but think back to the early ‘80s and the first car I owned, a Mini Cooper.

Photographing at night I prefer using a tripod and working with ambient light from streetlamps or lights from passing cars. Artificial light transforms the mundane space inducing an eerie, dreamlike quality to the images and creating an air of mystery.

Where possible I tried to capture solitary, isolated vehicles in deserted streets, and devoid of people. This was to convey a feeling of quiet solitude. I think it is a positive move to clean up London’s air and reduce pollution, but unfortunately it also means it’s the End Of The Road for many classic vehicles.

London has always been a fantastic place to spot older classic vehicles and it is sad to see them disappear. 

 

Background

I am a documentary photographer based in London.

After studying Graphic Design at the University of Ulster, I moved to London to start my career as an Art Director.

Working as a creative in various advertising agencies, I’ve been fortunate to have collaborated with, and learned from, some inspirational photographers.

Encouraged by those photographers, I began making documentary projects and I now divide my time between photographing my personal projects and my advertising creative work.

 



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