The Views From These Car Washes Will Make You Want to Wash Your Car

Behold
The Photo Blog
Sept. 3 2014 11:17 AM

The Views From These Car Washes Will Make You Want to Wash Your Car

Best-Way, North Adams, MA  2013.
Best-Way, North Adams, MA 2013.

Mark Lyon

Often, an idea needs to incubate for a little while before it turns into a full-fledged project.

For Mark Lyon, that process took roughly four years. In 2007, Lyon photographed a frozen car wash bay wall and said he was attracted to the symmetry and decor of the space. In 2011, he began shooting car washes in earnest around the New York Hudson Valley and New England areas, eventually creating a series titled “Bay Views.”

Lyon said that although he is drawn to car washes that appear to have been abandoned, most of the 24-hours self-service washes he shoots are still functioning.

Advertisement

He also isn’t in a rush to make many of the images in “Bay Views.” Because he relies on natural light, Lyon said he sometimes waits for years to get the shot he sets up in his mind and often revisits the location in different seasons to see how the light moves through the fog or snow.

“Sometimes all the elements are cooperative on the first visit, but I still have a tendency to want to go back and explore what else might happen,” he said.

“A big part of what I’m looking for is the balance of interior and exterior light. In some locations where there is an interesting view, I just have to wait for the circumstances to be correct.”

Scotchtown, Middletown, NY 2012.
Scotchtown, Middletown, NY 2012.

Mark Lyon

Be-Wise, New Paltz, NY  2012.
Be-Wise, New Paltz, NY 2012.

Mark Lyon

Foam & Wash, Poughkeepsie, NY 2012.
Foam & Wash, Poughkeepsie, NY 2012.

Mark Lyon

Shooting at night also helps to create a somewhat lonely feeling within the images and Lyon said he shoots with relatively long exposures, based around “the flickering cycle of a street light or (on) traffic patterns.”

“I established early on that I would not use any image that features my own cast shadow, a person, or use any image that has car light trails in it. I think avoiding these elements has had the effect of creating a slower and quieter reading of the images.”

Lyon’s previous series, “Landscapes for the People,” featured on Slate last year, also focused on a quieter part of life: murals inside office spaces. He is drawn to the passing of time in his work but said he isn’t necessarily focused on nostalgia.  

“I am visually drawn to images, objects and spaces that show their age,” he said. “I think the ‘quietness’ in my work comes from photographing spaces designed for our interaction without any figures present; the viewer can occupy these photographic spaces and create their own visual narratives.”

Diamond, New Paltz, NY  2012.
Diamond, New Paltz, NY 2012.

Mark Lyon

Defunct (Winter), Newburgh, NY  2014.
Defunct (Winter), Newburgh, NY 2014.

Mark Lyon

Purple Parlor, Poughkeepsie, NY  2013.
Purple Parlor, Poughkeepsie, NY 2013.

Mark Lyon

Defunct (Summer), Newburgh, NY  2013.
Defunct (Summer), Newburgh, NY 2013.

Mark Lyon

David Rosenberg is the editor of Slate’s Behold blog. He has worked as a photo editor for 15 years and is a tennis junkie. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.