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Finding Modern Art in Old American Cars

Interview/tutorial by Editor Michel Romaggi
In collaboration with Photographer Beate Gube.
Published the 28th of January 2021 

Beate Gube makes stunning photos by highlighting details of Old American Cars. I asked her how she manages to achieve such beautiful results.

'US classic car Monterey 1962 taillight'


Where did you get the idea for these extremely decorative photos?
First of all, thank you very much for the nice compliment. I am always happy and very grateful when my pictures are perceived as extremely decorative.
However, when I take photos, I don't pursue any particular idea. I don't try to build up or implement a certain scenery.  It is rather the idea who finds me. I let myself drift freely and be inspired by the beauty of the automobile.
I rarely photograph classic cars in their full dimension and often reduce them to a few details.  Through abstraction, I try to emphasize the special aesthetics of these classics and direct the eye of the viewer to some inconspicuous little things.


'US classic car 1957 corvette'


Where does this love for old American cars come from?
In my eyes, especially the American road cruisers from the 1950s and 1960s with their spectacular tail fins and their gigantic chrome radiator grilles, are very expressive and appealing. They have their very own spirit and perfectly reflect the glamour of a bygone era.
The challenge of capturing this spirit photographically is one I always enjoy taking on, and so I will never tire of photographing them in an aesthetically pleasing way in the years to come.

My passion for photographing classic, predominantly American, automobiles from the 1950s and 1960s only developed about 10 years ago. And, if I'm honest, it was by accident.
At the time, I came across a few American road cruisers on the road and took some photos with my cell phone. In retrospect, I realized that the result "wasn't so bad" and so I happily stuck with it.


'US classic car Brookwood 1958'

These vehicles no longer run the streets. Where do you find your subjects?
If someone had told me ten years ago that these vehicles would no longer run the streets, I probably would have agreed.
However, it's no different with American road cruisers than it is with many other things in life.
When you shift your focus and suddenly become interested in new things, you wonder why you didn't notice these new things to this extent before.  And this phenomenon also applies to classic automobiles and especially to American road cruisers.
When I shifted my own focus due to my changing interests, I noticed that there are really quite a lot of US classic cars out there on German (as well as probably Swedish) roads.



'US classic car 1954 Bel Air Powerglide'

How do you create your photos? What makes you to choose the detail which you want to hightlight in your picture?
Most of the time I don't choose the details consciously. I let myself be guided by my intuition and photograph what seems to be worth seeing, little things that catch my eye.
The moment I press the shutter, I know that I can create something beautiful out of it, but I do not yet see the concrete result in front of me.
The result is not known until I decide to finalize an image, and even then I still get a surprise or two when I completely abandon my original plan (in terms of colour, for example) in favor of a better result.



'US classic car Coupe Deville 1959'


Which camera hardware and settings do you use?
When I photograph classic cars, I always travel light - with my Olympus E-M10 MARK II and my favourite fast lens, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO. I really appreciate the five-dimensional image stabilizer and enjoy the freedom of being on the road without a tripod without exception.
For the often spontaneous images, I make only a few adjustments (mostly in the area of the aperture, focus, white balance) and have in mind that I can correct one or the other in my post-processing, if necessary.


You harmonize the colours of the background with the colour of the car, to get the result, Which post-process do you use?
To get a harmonious colour experience, it sometimes takes a little time to unify the cropped object with one or more other (colour-responsive) layer(s).
In this process, I'm a big fan of the free & open-source image editor GIMP and various plug-ins like G'MIC.



'US classic car 1959 Super 88'



How does photography fit into your life?
The probability of discovering American road cruisers increases steadily towards the weekend when the weather is consistent and dry and the temperatures are mild, so I prefer to be out and about with my camera at these times. Photographing these great automobiles and their subsequent image processing are the most relaxing and beautiful weekend activities that I can imagine at the moment.

It was a great pleasure to answer your questions.
Thank you very much for your interest.

Beate Gube


Read this with interest because I was really curious "where" and "How" you took those pics. Anyway result is amazing. Im still wondering because in all my entire life I saw just a couple of those kind of car driving around, but probably there are special car rallies dedicated to those American beauties.. Anyway Great Lovely work
Thank you very much for all the kind words. Working with Yvette and Michel was a lot of fun. I appreciate you all very much. Many, many thanks! Best wishes Beate
Great to learn more about the person behind this fantastic automobile photo art! I am always fascinated about the outcome of these photos and think that publishing them here on 1x is not only a deserved honor for Beate but also for 1x! Congrats to Beate for her great work and thanks to Yvette for this interesting interview! Cheers, Andy
Thanks for your appreciation, Andreas !!! I was really happy with the fine collaboration between Editor Michel Romaggi and Beate. A real pleasure to present it to our readers ;-)
Wonderful to read this, as I've commented on several of your terrific automobile images. And I especially enjoyed reading that the final result usually arrives later, not as you walk up to the car having a predefined idea of the final image you're after. "It is rather the idea who finds me;" many times, I feel I'm operating this way as well. Congratulations on the Magazine feature, and keep these beauties rolling!
I'm sure Beate will keep these beauties rolling, Christopher ! Thanks for your fine reaction, my friend.
Wunderbar die technischen Details der Klassiker mit der gekonnten Bearbeitung. Glückwunsch, dass Deine Arbeiten hier präsentiert werden. Dank auch an Yvette und Michel Wonderful the technical details of the classics with the skilful editing. Congratulations on having your work presented here. Thanks also to Yvette and Michel
Many thanks for your appreciation, dear Erhard !
Many thanks, dear Xibiao !!!
a great series, fantastically photographed - congratulation
Thanks for your appreciation, dear Ute !