Wrecked Cars
An Urban Photography Project

Wrecked cars; burnt out shells of twisted metal and melted plastic. Doesn't sound like an appealing photographic study does it?

Initially I thought the same until I took a closer look and noticed how sculptural some of these cars could be within their urban space.

I loved the way that paint looked when it cracked and peeled after it was burnt and the different hues of rust on an old rotting abandoned vehicle.

I soon started to notice many great shots and found it quite fun to try and make a really attractive image out of a pile of distorted metal.

Wrecked cars can be found in all sorts of unexpected locations and often these locations can change the whole feel of the photograph, especially if black and white or colour shots are used to emphasise that atmosphere.

Wrecked Cars Project Examples

Wrecked Cars by Kate Tilmouth

I saw this burnt out car in the middle of a park over looking Canary Wharf in London and it just stopped me in my tracks.

Seeing it in such a unexpected place, I noticed how out of place it looked against the pristine clean lines of the modern tower blocks in the distance.

Wrecked Cars by Kate Tilmouth

I originally shot the photograph in colour, but once in the digital darkroom, I decided that I wanted to make the image more dramatic.

So I cropped the image and turned the shot into black and white with just a subtle pink hue added to turn a summers day into a cold winter one.

As you can see from the original image I took a wide-angle shot to get as much of the scene in focus and made sure that the buildings in the distance were clearly visible.

Wrecked Cars Photo by Iboy Daniel

This second shot of a wrecked car was taken by Iboy Daniel. This picture is all about texture and symmetry.

The effect of the splattered mud over the white car body has given an overall grainy texture to the image and certainly suggests that this car is very much neglected.

I really like how the whole frame has been filled with the car, excluding nearly everything else save for a few autumnal leaves that add colour and form and which soften the image.

I also like the fact that the grill was kept in shot at the top of the image as it helps to add interest and structure.

The image has been perfectly framed and has been kept symmetrical.

I assume that the photographer must have climbed up onto a wall to get this shot or was at least somewhere high to be able to capture this unusual viewpoint.

Exploring different views is often key to achieving extraordinary shots of mundane objects.

Wrecked Cars Picture by Glass House

Now for an image which uses colour and digital painterly effects to turn a wrecked car into a work of art.

This image by Glass House has taken a rusting old manmade car and almost blended it into its natural graveyard surroundings.

The colours have been boosted and a subtle but very effective digital effect has been used to make the photograph look more like a painting.

The colours of the car and its surroundings are very similar and this gives the image a very soft and easy on the eye feel.

This is a well spotted composition showing how something that is essentially not very nice to look at can be made into something attractive and appealing with the use of modern digital photographic techniques.

Wrecked Cars Picture by Glass House

This last example is a more straightforward photograph and probably shows how many of us come across wrecked cars in our urban setting, sitting abandoned in a car park.

I chose this second photograph by Glass House simply because of its simplicity. For me the shot works well because of the similarity of the tones of the rusty doors and the sandy coloured wall.

I also think that the contrasting straight lines within the image, the sign and the road markings, to the curves of the car gives the picture diversity. Notice also that there is also a mirroring of curves in the arched brick window decorations on the wall with the curves of the cars wheel arches.

It is important to note that when looking through the viewfinder, taking time to notice these similarities and mirroring effects will encourage you to position and compose a shot far better.

A stronger appreciation of subjects like wrecked cars that you would not normally glace at will also grow and help strengthen the photographic creative eye.