An osmotic process occurs as the portrait evolves and is distilled and imbued with a humanity and surreal majesty…
In 2002 I set up our studio in East Brisbane and began working across the road from the house where Ian Bunzli parked his 1962 Vauxhall Victor. The car had been in the family since new, Ian’s dad bought it and later Ian became custodian. For about four years Ian and myself would exchange a quick greeting on the street and every now and then catch up for a roadside chat. For a long time I’d thought of photographing Ian with his Vauxhall Victor, but always was too busy, and the timing never seemed right. It took a nervous Ian to setup the photo shoot, he approached me and it turned out we’d both been thinking the same thing for quite some time.
Most of my work is never what it appears. The building in the background was my studio at the time, in the image the building was replaced with an earlier version of itself when it was new, about 100 years ago. All of the instruments were shot separately then styled to bind the portrait of man and car together. I’ve never been one for heavy handed vignettes blackening the edges of images, here the vignetting is subtle and introduced through selective backgrounds and the car interior, all via cutting and pasting. For example the rear seat was made larger and the trees behind had some extra foliage added.
Here’s a quote from a press release when the image was first launched. An osmotic process occurs as the portrait evolves and is distilled and imbued with a humanity and surreal majesty that anyone can empathise with. Later, some close to Ian were amused at how the distilling and imbuing of Ian might have occurred – “distilled and imbued …. with a surreal majesty”.
The image was published in the limited edition art book by Ivory Press titled Horizons in 2008. A book about travel. Man & Vauxhall Victor a Portrait of Ian Bunzli is the first image to illustrate the section titled The journey, with an accompanying essay by Alvaro Mutis. In his essay Mutis writes about a train, lovers, bluebirds, the demise of the train and it’s subsequent decay. All reminiscent of the effects time have taken on the family owned and loved Vauxhall with a special place in the heart and mind of the Man and Vauxhall Victor himself, Ian Bunzli.
John Whip the cyclist is another Brisbane identity, you might enjoy reading about his life on the bike at Velo Aficionado