1974–1977 · Headlighting

Using a Gundlach 8 × 20″ format Banquet Camera loaded with paper negatives, Holownia traveled across North America in an homage to the work of Henry Fox Talbot. The resulting work, entitled Headlighting, is usually exhibited in a grid of 24 portraits.

One of Holownia’s earliest works is Headlighting; the title playfully combines car headlights with the light in which the heads shown here are places. Between 1974 and 1977 he portrayed around fifty North Americans with their vehicles, always following the same pattern; the cars are only shown in profile. The drivers stand in front of their automobiles, looking into the camera. The shots are tightly cropped, so that only a narrow rim around the parked vehicle allows for any conclusions to be drawn about the surroundings — and therefore the social milieu.

Dr. Christoph Heinrich. English translation, catalogue entry by curator. Monet’s Legacy: Series, Order and Obsession.
Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2001/2002

Collection of the National Gallery of Canada