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Facing Forward | by simonov
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Facing Forward

Portrait of the photographer as a young man. Nineteen-year-old me and my battered, beloved 1971 Datsun 510 in the parking lot of William Pereira's Pacific Life building, ready to take on the world. And did we ever.


The 510 was my first car, purchased the year before in an insurance auction for $645. It must have had a warped block or something because I believe I had to change the head gasket two or three times (even after milling the head). In the end I didn't bother and for the last couple of years simply added water to the radiator every single time I got into the car to drive it.


But I got to know the PL14 motor inside and out, and that was pretty useful knowledge in those days as it was the same motor used in Datsun's ubiquitous 1970s pick-up trucks.


The clouds in the upper left were burned in in the darkroom, as can be seen by the underexposed (for the print) sky at upper center. I believe I was using a red lens filter (which made the light blue car appear much darker), but there wasn't enough blue sky revealed in the clouds to give it the drama I wanted. I was always in the darkroom trying to make up for deficiencies in the negative. I do the same thing today with Photoshop.


Sadly, the Datsun was towed away from my Santa Ana apartment parking lot a few years later, just as the adventure was barely getting started. I recall that $25 changed hands; I do not remember whether I was paid that amount for the car or whether I paid that to the tow truck driver to take it away.


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Taken sometime in 1981