PHOTOGRAPHY OF MATTHEW PORTER | PORTRAITS OF FROZEN ENERGY

It’s shocking to me that I missed these incredible “created” images by Brooklyn photographer Matthew Porter when they came out.  These epic Muscle Car shots are the stuff of every machinehead munchkin’s daydreams, and have the ability to still give a grown man that “hell yes, fist-pumpin’ feeling.” They’re pure unbridled fantasy of the best kind.  Interviewer Rosecrans Baldwin described them as, “…a studied spontaneity, a way to make portraits of frozen energy, of time put on pause.” Indeed.

Let’s cut the crap here and boil it down– bitchin’. There’s also a captivating series called “High Lonesome”, which Porter describes as, “sort of an absurd mash-up between the Hindenburg and the American West.” Here’s the interview and images from The Morning News–

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Burnout #2, 2006  –image © Matthew Porter

In many of the pictures, there’s an affection for wide-open spaces and grandeur, even myths: big skies, flying cars, floating blimps, cowboys. Do you find photography well suited for capturing big ideas?

Overall, I would have to say no. I’ve had to use quite a bit of Photoshop and travel to different parts of the country to make those images. It would be easier if I could make the work from scratch, or appropriate the imagery, but because I’m interested in authoring my own source material, I need access to the subject. Sometimes I feel like photography is not the best medium for the work I’m making, but I’m determined.

The flying cars have garnered a lot of attention. Where did they start for you? Are you still interested in them?

I was inspired by ‘70s road and car chase movies to make something with muscle cars, but I couldn’t get away from a documentary style project. Then I happened to see the end of the Starsky & Hutch remake, where the car freezes in mid-air while lens flares splash over the hood, and I realized that’s what I wanted. Then it became a problem of how to do it on a small budget.

I like them because they represent iconic moments that have very little with telling a story. No one ever talks about how Bullitt is a police procedural, but I see stills from the car chase reproduced all the time; the imagery is vivid enough to remain, and they play directly to the imagination. When I get an opportunity to install work somewhere, I like the flying cars to function the same way, so they should never be shown all together. I’ll probably continue to make them, maybe one every year for a while.

Blue Ridge Parkway, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

Empire on the Platte, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

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