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The Heights by Matthew Porter

The Heights by Matthew Porter

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“I was inspired by the way a car can steal the show. Think of iconic car chases in films—it’s often about spectacle, and has little to do with advancing a narrative. And that’s the way I think of these cars, as dead-end technologies, but also as high-performance machines which, for their audience, sought to reflect the spirit and attitudes of their time.” —Matthew Porter

Matthew Porter presents a portfolio of twenty-five images of old-school cars, captured in midair as they careen over city streets and highway intersections. Each photograph is a freeze-frame—a hypothetical film still from a pulp-fiction chase scene. The series seems, on one hand, to distill the essence of muscle-car Americana, a pop-cultural semaphore for the high-testosterone male persona. And yet, on the other, the subject—the “all-American” muscle car as antihero—is caught in an eternal state of suspended animation, while the various elements of the landscape in the background organize themselves around the edges of the frame. The resulting pictures are a hybrid of hyperreality and studied, topographic description, part bittersweet nostalgia and part ironic reinvention of a classic American trope.

Photographs by Matthew Porter. Text by Rachel Kushner.

Matthew Porter is a graduate of Bard College and of the ICP-Bard MFA Program in Advanced Photographic Studies, New York. His work was included in Photography Is Magic (Aperture, 2015), and his first book, Archipelago, was published in 2015. Porter’s work is represented by M+B, Los Angeles, and Invisible-Exports, New York. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
Rachel Kushner’s debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Her book The Flamethrowers received rave reviews across the country, and she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013; her latest novel is The Mars Room (2018). Kushner’s fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, Believer, Artforum, Bookforum, Cabinet, and Grand Street. She lives in Los Angeles.

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