January 2010 Archives

_G4Q1056.jpg   I spent a few hours at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit this past week.  I got my press pass and wandered like I've done the past number of years.  Interestingly, I thought I was going to be there shooting for a client this year.  A client from, of all places, Russia.  A car enthusiast website had searched for a Detroit photographer and I was one of at least half a dozen local photographers targeted.  They certainly appeared legitimate, and I actually thought I had the job, until the editor, Evgeniy, suddenly stopped returning my emails.  I had insisted on payment before I shot the job, worried about the nightmare of trying to collect fees from a Russian company.  I don't know who did shoot for them, though I'd find it interesting how it all panned out.

   Now I have to admit I'm not really a car enthusiast.  I don't get worked up about seeing all the latest models.  Never have.  What's more, living in Michigan I've been dismayed for years about the apparent tone-deafness of the American car companies. But even for someone like me who buys a vehicle not for the sex appeal, but simply to have a reliable hunk of safe, reliable metal to get me from here to there...even for someone like me who enjoys a little glitz now and then, I found the auto show flat, unmoving, and fairly melancholy.  Lots of electric exhibits, bigger Chinese presence, and a rather sad continued reliance on preternaturally handsome men and women models.   Mostly women.  In flowing gowns or mini miniskirts. But it's hard to get worked up about shiny cars in a state so devastated by this economic downturn.  The comparison of real life on Michigan's mean streets with the pseudo-upbeat car show vibe is just too dispiriting.
   I want the auto industry to evolve and succeed.   I want my neighbors and myself employed.  But I want also want a breathable planet for my children.  So I'll head over to the electric displays, and plan on buying a hybrid for my next car. And drive less.  And hope for more sustainable mass transit. And jobs for the men and women of Michigan.  Are all these things mutually exclusive?  I don't know.  We'll see how the windmill business goes.


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