Urban Rhythms & The Car Picture: New York photographer Harry Wilks

New York Photographer Harry Wilks 

Pulaski Skyway #28 © Harry Wilks

George Washington Bridge #34 © Harry Wilks

Manhattan Bridge #42 © Harry Wilks

Queensboro Bridge #50 © Harry Wilks

Harry Wilks explores the quirky rhythms of urban and manmade rural environments from rooftops in New York City and from bridges that span the Hudson River and other waterways in the region.

His working method favors the quotidian. By setting himself up close to an ordinary object, such as a guardrail, a fence, or a rock, he invests that object with importance, and it becomes as much the subject of the photograph as do the more conventionally majestic structures in the background.

His photographs are included in public collections such as the Brooklyn Museum, the International Center of Photography and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in corporate and private collections.

Wilks is known to be right-handed, lives in New York with his wife, painter Tamar Zinn, and is said to be one of America’s leading photographers of guardrails.

The Car Picture, 1987 — 2011 / ongoing 

I have always loved cars. As a child, my favorite family photos were those where we were pictured with the family car.

So the car was a natural choice for me in 1987 when I wanted to take a formal portrait of my wife and baby boy–and they both fit comfortably on the bumper of that first car. I enjoyed looking at the photograph, decided to do it again the next year, and it then became a long-term portrait project to harass my family once a year. They can (and often do) complain during the shoot (see 1994) and are sometimes impatient, but they do like looking at the pictures, while not always agreeing with my choices (again see 1994).

The Car Picture, 1987 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 1990 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 1991 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 1994 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 1999 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 2002 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 2005 © Harry Wilks

The Car Picture, 2010 © Harry Wilks

To see The Car Picture in full, simply click here, visit Gallery 8 and ensure to scroll horizontally to view the entire series of photographs from 1987 to 2011.

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