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LONDON -- A London-based writer has given gas stations the star treatment in his latest book. David Campany, a writer, curator and artist, turns his focus to gas stations in his photobook, "Gasoline," just as the modern gas station turns 100 years old.
According to publisher Mack, "Gasoline" features 35 archive press images of gas stations taken between 1944 and 1995. They have been collected by Campany and purchased from the photography archives of several U.S. newspapers.
"'Gasoline' can be read as a cautionary tale about the modern dependence on oil, about news photography, about the shift from film to digital imaging, or as a minor history of car design and vernacular architecture. Marked with the grease pen notations of the newspapers’ art directors, the photos tell of oil shortages, road congestion, crimes, accidents and choking cities," the publisher said in the book description.
Campany's pictorial road trip through America's gas stations began when he found a photograph in a second-hand shop. That photograph shows a woman slumping over her steering wheel as she waits in line for gas in Baltimore in 1979. A handwritten note on the photograph's reverse side reads: "Gas Wait. Layfayette avenue near Charles street. Pat Sullivan, frustrated." The woman's car and strands of her hair were carefully painted over in the style of the newspaper retouching of the time, according to Wired.
Campany said that while gas stations are banal, they are also prime locations for tracking news both local and global, the report added.
"The 1970s was an eventful decade for gas," he writes in the book. "Oil shortages. Price increases. Geopolitical instability. Road congestion. Choking cities. Growing consciousness about pollution. Dreams of the tank always full and the freeway always empty were coming to an end."
The last photograph in the book is the only image that was not taken in America -- a Standard Oil Station destroyed in World War II.