Almost a month has passed since the 2016 Mecum Spring Classic car auction, and I’m still feeling disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be.
For years, this was a rare day of nearly perfect joy for me. I’ve loved automotive design since I was a small boy, and the Mecum was my annual chance to get very close to the classic cars of which I once could only dream. I could spend all day at the auction, taking easily 1,000 photographs, and still not see all the available cars. And it used to cost just $10!
Now it’s $30, there are far fewer cars on display, and there’s more security to herd people in and through. Everything about the day felt disappointing to me. I won’t go back, and I will dearly miss what this auction once was.
I shot my digital camera as always, and might show some of those photos sometime, but I did my best work this year on film. I showed my three favorite photos over the past three days, but here are the photos I liked next best. Every year I hope to find a 1960s Corvette, because I think they photograph beautifully from behind.
I don’t normally pay much attention to the muscle cars at this auction, so plentiful are they. But I liked the light and shadow I found on this Pontiac GTO “The Judge.”
Accidentally overexposing this whole roll of Tri-X by one stop meant that every photograph needed a little help in Photoshop. It resulted in deep blacks and mysterious shadows. This deeply browed headlight blongs to a 1961 Plymouth.
Inside, despite the extra stop of exposure, depth of field remained shallow. This was my favorite car at this year’s auction, a 1937 Chrysler Airflow.
This is from a 1934 Ford. Poor exposure made this shot quite challenging to work with, and I couldn’t fix a mottled quality about the background. But I like the composition so I’m sharing it anyway.
The past few years at the auction, I have tried to capture people interacting with each other over the cars. It’s such a typical scene at the Mecum: men sharing memories of these automobiles. This was the best of those shots this year.
I don’t know what I’m going to do to fulfill my old-car fix from now on. Maybe I’ll have to find some car shows around town. I know they exist, I just have to suss them out! But with this post, my Mecum era comes to a close.
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Tri-X (accidentally exposed at ISO 200).
Last updated on 19 March 2020 by Jim Grey