The series Drive-in dates from 2002.

I shot the entirety of this body of work in the span of a week while I was on a brief vacation break in Florida. I stumbled upon a massive Drive-in megaplex. It would double as a massive outdoor flea market during the day and in the evenings it would transform into this wonderfully bizarre space:   an arena with multiple screens where different movies were projected simultaneously. It was a wonderfully American moment, for an immigrant and a New Yorker, to find myself in this place.

Naturally I took the tripod and the 6x6 Rolleiflex out of the trunk of the rental car and started taking frames. Digital photography cameras were still rather basic and rare. I accepted the limitations of shooting with a film camera. In fact I discovered that these limitations became the strength of this series in the end. 

To begin with, having to set up a tripod in a Drive-in theater is not a small feat. The challenge became apparent immediately as I was confronted by a security guard who thought I was shooting video to produce bootleg copies of the movies being projected. This one time I was lucky enough because the guard recognised my Rollei. His father used one when he was a kid to take family snapshots. So he allowed me to continue shooting but asked me to try and be discreet. Up north, security guards were not as understanding as this man.  

A few months later, I tried to replicate this experience in a Drive-in up near New York City. This time a friend and I were chased out by security.They had no interest in hearing about my artistic musings about recording the passing of time in the form of superimposed collage-like  image-improvisations. So we had to run out of the Drive-in and rafter fast. 

The American photographer Robert Adams, writes about the hardships photographers face often under the harassment of overzealous guards, the police and other bullies, who just do not understand the artistic drive and the unusual places it takes some of us.  

Another interesting limitation of shooting long exposures on film with a tripod, was the improvisational character of it all. In order for an image to be recorded on the film, the shutter had to be placed on the B setting, in order to stay open for anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds at F22.  Because I wanted both the blurry superimposed image on the screen, while the rest of the surrounding environment to be as sharp as possible. 

During this time of exposure, I was not in control of what was being projected onto the screen. This resulted in interesting abstract compositions. 

For example in Drive-in 1, there is a rather symbolic and mysterious female figure. And in combination with the number 1 designating the screen, the narrative became already intricate. A female form and the number one having some powerful resonances and associations. Nevermind that the movie playing on the screen was a light romantic Hollywood movie. 

These recorded images, recorded time really, often have a deep mysterious feeling. As if those figures or abstractions recorded emerged out of the collective subconscious. 

Today digital cameras are very efficient at capturing low light images. There is no need for a tripod, even a handheld camera can produce an acceptable and well illuminated scene at night. But back then, not only did I have to develop the film before I could see the results, if in fact there was anything at all registered on the film. But I also could not really pinpoint the final image recorded on these screens. 

30 seconds of continuing exposure produced an effect similar to double or multiple exposures. But there was much more as the motion and the continuing exposure on the screen made intriguing designs and scenes. I also love how these images often give the impression that the movie screens are floating on a dark ocean, as the cars and the terrain remain minimal and rather minimally black.