New photobook Parked by Fraser Havenhand documents a long-lasting petrol head affair with, rust of old and new.
Tomorrow, there’ll be a thousand cars driving by on the streets of Britain but tucked away into the cubby holes of driveways will be the stories to last a lifetime. Dust settled on dashboards as oceans of paint layers dissolve, with a smashed-in left headlight as moss covers the once polished window screen. Fraser Havenhand encapsulates all of this and a lot more in his new photobook, Parked. A commercial photographer from Sheffield, Fraser has spent the last few years documenting the driveways of Sheffield in his spare time. However, it wasn’t till lockdown started when Fraser could invest in his love of car photography, “I still want to be creative but now can I do it in a way that’s low key and accessible and still enjoyable as well, so I think it’s something that’s got a bit more depth to it,” said Fraser.
Depth is something that Parked has buckets of - a front-row seat to your past through the window of an engine, Fraser has documented a thousand possible stories in the pages of his new book. As someone dedicated to commercial photography, there’s something brilliant about Fraser having reached out into an area they’ve always been passionate about. Like many projects, Parked started as “a way to keep busy during lockdown when not working” and has flourished into a self-published photobook. Parked is a brilliant showcase of Fraser’s passion for four wheels and perfect ability to capture someone without them being visible in the frame. Whilst others were out documenting the empty streets during lockdown - Fraser spent his time getting to know your driveway. Unused vehicles, many at the burden of overgrown gardens, weeds and ivy spreading into the crevices of unwitnessed machines.
For many people, cars are simply a tool to get them from A to B, but for a petrol head like Fraser, “Parked is a culmination of my love for classic cars and car culture but done in the most pragmatic way for the times.” However, it’s more than just a group of car-based images, it’s an outsider’s insight into the mystery of belonging. The way we live and how our love of nostalgia has crept into the present day, “there’s an old Volvo on a drive in a suburban middle-class area of Sheffield and it’s just knackered. It’s been painted but it’s been painted the same colour again, but the first layer is falling off so you can see the same paint underneath, it’s just bizarre, they’ve got a massive house, a stone-built drive, a well-kept garden so this car means a lot to someone.” It’s the mysterious Volvo that brings out why Fraser has created a book about the life of knackered cars, “there’s a story behind them all and you’ll never figure it out but it’s quite interesting to make it up in your head.”
The enigma of cars is similar to photography, “when you leave just enough mystery in there, the viewer can form their own opinion, and it’s nice to do it consciously so it reminds us of where we’ve been or how we’ve felt at a certain time,” as Fraser puts it. In each image from Parked we gain a little bit of insight into a lifetime of stories, many photographers will document people on the street, and we often get to see a part of someone who would have remained an outsider. However, there’s something quite special about being able to capture someone through an object, the way they live through their most prized possession. And in doing so, Fraser has created an infinite amount of stories from the driveway of a stranger's house. And in a nutshell, “Parked is about the cars people decide to keep, even though it doesn't always make sense.”
Fraser might be back in the world of commercial photography, but no doubt another project lies on the horizon. For now, check out Parked - Fraser’s first photographic book, and one suspects it won’t be the last. Parked has brought two loves of Fraser’s together - cars and photography, his first photo-book is now available to purchase online here.
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