Using a Gundlach 8" x 20"-format Banquet Camera, loaded with paper negatives, Thaddeus Holownia travelled across North America photographing thirty-six North Americans with their vehicles. The rigorous compositions of Headlighting – in particular the elongated horizontal format and the tight cropping which isolates the subjects from their surroundings – gives the series an aura of sociological study.
The automobile may well be the most predominant image within the relatively short history of photography. Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Nathan Lyons have in their photographs repeatedly used the automobile as a symbol of crass materialism. Holownia, like these photographers, works within the documentary tradition of the medium, but Headlighting contain none of the fierce societal condemnation attached to automobiles. Instead, Holownia collapses the standard version down to a vision of cars (or trucks) and their owners which is subtly intimate and as gentle as the light in which many of these images were taken.