Cars have been taking over our surroundings and landscapes for about a hundred years. It is estimated that between 600 and 800 million vehicles exist in the world today, with the number continually rising. Carscapes, Merja Salo’s book of photos, provides an open and at times skewed view of our motorized environment. How do cities, rural areas and familiar places look when photography does not remove automobiles from view or merely tolerate them as a blind spot. What happens when the automobiles are consciously incorporated into the picture ? When cars become a constitutive part of a new landscape ? An automobile landscape ?

Automobiles stand for speed and freedom. They create what the philosopher Paul Virilio called “Dromology” : the logic of speed. The modern world is characterized by velocity, which automobiles have come to symbolize. Cars require streets and highways. They even change the landscape when they are merely parked somewhere : garages, parking lots, roadsides or peripheral roads through wooded areas. Parked cars change the public space and the urban architecture at least as profoundly as the road system does.

The photographs collected by Salo show decelerated vehicles that have become part of the landscape and which create their own landscape: “Dromotopoi.” Some of the photos are based on the principles of topographical landscape photography : detailed, factual descriptions of a specific place or region. Others reflect romantic ideals : light and color create moods and emotions. The ones in between are incidental, curious, showing passing details captured while in transit. As a whole the book fits into the category of social landscape photography. Carscapes does not escape into scenarios of untouched nature.

Instead it shows the effects of human action. Merja Salo, a well-known Finnish columnist, describes with gentle irony from the perspective of a person without a car, and tells of her experiences in California — the heart of American automobile society.

The photographs come from all over the world and were created during the last ten years.

EUR 43,00
EUR 22,00
1. Auflage 2011
With texts by
Hardcover, 176 Seiten, 128 Farbabbildungen
25.3 × 20 cm
ISBN: 978-3-905929-13-3