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Porsche: The Look of #Luftgekühlt (Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA 2019)

Updated: May 5, 2023

"Luftgekühlt" is the Germain translation of the term "air-cooled." It's also the name given to an annual one-day event that pays tribute to vintage Porsche road and race cars.

Held at different locations once a year, previous sites have included; a heavy industrial area, a modern furniture design shop, and a lumber yard. The 2019 event, certainly the group's most ambitious to date, was held on the backlot of Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA.

Knowing full well that this would be a crowded one-day event, I tried to keep an open mind about what kinds of images I would come away with. As we passed through security and headed to the busses that would take us to the event space, it became evident that the day would be challenging. There were FAR MORE people in attendance than I had anticipated.

Initially, I took a few hours of taking in the setting. Cars were "curated" in specific locations throughout the area, in front of facades reminiscent of; a downtown city, a European square, an art-deco gas station, unpaved streets from the old West, a Mexican town square, and small-town City Hall (featured in "Back to the Future"). As the crowd grew and grew, I decided to focus on trying to tell the story of the event from my perspective.

Some background: Porsches have a special history with California, specifically Los Angeles. In 1959, the first exclusive U.S. dealership, Vasek Polak Porsche was founded in the South Bay Los Angeles city of Hermosa Beach. In the decades that followed, more Porsches were imported into the ports of Southern California than anywhere else. The 911 became the sports car of choice for weekend racers from Beverly Hills and Hollywood luminaries like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

Given the history of the brand and the setting I found myself in, I decided to cast an eye toward the patrons of the event as well as the cars. Shooting candidly in a "street photography" style is always risky. Quickly snapping away at subjects can be difficult, in so far as you don't really know what you'll get. But I don't dwell on that while I'm shooting. I try my best to stay in the moment and keep moving.

When I returned home to Oregon, I sat down and began to edit the images. The editing process was long, I took A LOT of images. What emerged to me was a portrait of an event's time and place that kind of made sense to me...I'll leave it at that and let the images speak for themselves. The selected images are below.

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