The incoming expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) – designed to improve air quality by reducing pollution – will mean a £12.50 daily charge for the many classic cars that don’t meet its requirements.
As photographer Ray Knox points out, that works out at a £650 yearly fee for drivers that use their vehicles just once a week within the zone. Inevitably, he adds, this means many of these vehicles will end up on the scrap heap.
He’s spent the last few months photographing some of these cars before they disappear from the roads, prompted by the decision to sell his own, much-cherished, 20-year-old Fiat Punto. “I just wondered how many more car owners would be in that state,” he tells CR.
The series, titled End of The Road, was shot entirely at night, with the cars lit only by street lights or the passing headlights of another vehicle. Knox had started going for late-night walks during the first UK lockdown, and says he’s been “hooked” on it ever since.
“I’ve probably hardly taken a photograph during the day since then,” he says. “I just love the light at night. It’s otherworldly, and a bit like photographing a still life. It’s artificial light, and it’s much more controlled, and you can almost see more clearly because the light focuses your attention on a certain feature.”
Why classic cars? Knox says he feels they have more charm and personality than modern vehicles. This is evident in his cinematic shots, which emphasise that there’s something in the angles and lines of historic vehicles that’s missing from the slick, lookalike design of many cars today.