Phil Jung: Windscreen
The Windscreen series by photographer Phil Jung is about photographs of the things people leave in their cars.
Ten years ago, pointing his camera through the windshield of an old American car, Jung captured a strange scene: a bottle of aspirin and a toothbrush placed on the dashboard. “I got interested in the story behind it,” says Jung.
The windshield, on which he has worked more or less continuously since then, is a close-up view of American Life on the Road.
Like Morris’s pictures, Windscreen is about a culture that is disappearing. When combing through neighborhoods for cars, I look first for the way light enters a car and renders color. If I find nothing inside its cabin that tells something about its owner, I move on. Above all, the car needs to be drivable or just recently taken off the road. If a car sits for too long uninhabited, it loses something. The composite of this space reflects who we are, where we come from, and, possibly, where we are going.”
Windscreen will be published by TBW Books next Fall 2020.
“The car represents the American ideal: exploration, class mobility,” says Jung.
“I see this group of images as a contemporary look at our social landscape through the windshields, or windscreens, of parked cars. I am fascinated by how these unique personal spaces can be rendered in a photographic image. A car’s interior defines the line between public and private space. While peering into these spaces I wonder if the interior, often littered with personal articles, can describe the way language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena play a role in the owner’s life.
The largest challenge of the project is taking something as iconic as the automobile and adding something new to a conversation that his been going on since its inception. The gasoline-powered vehicles that were introduced in 1896 represented freedom, hope, exploration, and independence—quintessentially American ideals. By 1947, when the photographer Wright Morris made his image of an aging Model T, those early ideals had already begun to deteriorate.
About the Author
Phil Jung was born and raised in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York.
Jung received a BFA in Photography from The San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
His artwork has been featured in numerous publications including NPR, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Incandescent, The Photo Review, Mossless, GQ, and Kiblind Magazine in France. He was a recipient of the TMC Kodak International Film Grant in 2009 and the Saint Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in 2013. Jung has participated in exhibitions throughout the United States including LACMA, the Honolulu Museum of Art, The Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, Houston Center for Photography in Texas and Foley Gallery in NYC. His work is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and Arts.
Phillip Jung currently lives and works in Honolulu. He teaches undergraduate students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.