FACES of MUSTANG
In the summer of 2016 my portrait project Faces of Mustang came to life. Financed by a Kickstarter campaign and my credit card I set out to cross the country and meet owners of Ford Mustangs, hear their stories and take their portraits alongside the legendary cars.
In 1990, my Dad and I bought a ’67 Fastback. It started out as a $400 box of parts, it seemed in such rough shape that we were just going to part it out. It sat around for a while, and then we decided to turn it into the Bullitt car. We put a new motor and a different drive train into it and fixed up the body – we did everything but the paint job ourselves. It was a real father and son project and means a lot to me because of that. Ed and Amanda in Illinois with the Bullitt car and a 1968 Shelby GT500KR.
In just over 5 weeks I crossed 26 states and met some amazing people in 15 of those. Some were getting in touch through the social media pages I had set up for the project, others were referred to me by people I met along the way and sometimes I just spotted a Mustang parked up in front of a house and stopped to find out more.
We were going 50 or 60 mph an hour down this hill and he hits the runaway truck ramp and buries my car in sand and gravel! I had to climb out of the window. That was the end of that guy and me. Barbara and her 1996 Mustang in Springdale, Arkansas.
When I was 13 or 14 my cousin would take me out to the country and let me drive. It felt like being outlaws – kinda like Bonnie & Clyde – out on the back roads, stirring up dust. Special Ranger John in Oklahoma with his 2011 Mustang GT Coyote.
John wrote to me. He told me that he had been in law enforcement for 32 years, wore a cowboy hat, badge and colt 45 to work everyday and drove a Mustang. I knew I wanted to go and meet him.
Since returning from the road I have exhibited the portraits and in collaboration with CHK Design put a small book together, featuring portraits and stories. The cover featured Mary Ann who I spotted in Iowa with her yellow GT convertible called 'Tweety'.
Sarah is probably the better driver. Six weeks after our first son was born she won the Demolition Derby in Hotchkiss County. I lost my voice that night from all the yelling and screaming. Sarah, Waylon and Tristin in Colorado with her 1988 Mustang LX Convertible.
The project will be shown again in the Window Gallery at the University of the Arts London’s Central Saint Martins Campus in Kings Cross, Central London from the 7 August until the 6 September.
The Faces of Mustang book is available here.
I saw my first Mustang in April of 1964. My dad ran a camper and trailer sales lot, and I worked there. One day, one of my dad’s friends, who owned a Ford dealership in Heber City, came blasting into the lot with the motor roaring, tires smoking and screeching to a halt in front of the sales office. It was the first Mustang he’d received from Ford, a V8 convertible. Shane in Utah with his 1966 Mustang Fastback.
I used to street race when I was young, I had a ‘70 Mach 1. One night, when I got off work, me and this boy – who worked at the same place and had a Dodge Charger with a big block – we went out on the road to race. The motor in the Mustang was a 351 Cleveland, they flagged us, we took off and I jumped him. I got two or three car lengths ahead of him when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something running towards the road. I thought it was a kid, I turned the wheel and ended up in a guy’s yard slid right up and hit his porch. The guy in the Charger hit what he thought was a kid too and we both flipped and ran down there. It ended up being a dog – a white dog – which I am sorry for. I love animals – I got four dogs myself – but I’d rather it be a dog than a kid. After that I said I would never race on the street again, and I didn’t. I like track racing anyway. Joel, with some of his Mustang projects a 1970, a 1991, a 1972, two 1969 Mustangs and too many parts to mention.
I saw a lot of old Mustangs sitting next to a house in rural Alabama and stopped to find out more. Joel strapped on a gun before he came out to talk to me, which I only noticed much later.
When we have car trouble we call one of the other guys and ask them whether they know how to fix it. Now we all have families but it is still like that. Dan's got the tools, Justin's got gas and parts and Charlie and I, we bring the beer! Brandon, Rachel, Justin and Charlie in Colorado with his 1996 SVT Mustang Cobra and a couple of toy Mustangs.
‘We were driving fast but we were not racing’, I said. It didn’t look good arguing with a cop on a first date, but we dated for five years after, so that was lucky. I got the car when I was 16 I didn’t think I would be here 30 years later, still owning the same car and still fixing it up.' Bruce and his 1968 Mustang Fastback in Ohio.
For now I am winding down the Faces of Mustang project, albeit I would love to raise the funds to get people from the remaining 35 states to cover the whole country in all its diversity.
I've got a couple of new projects brewing. One involves the 88 cities that make up Los Angeles County and another that looks at the way the present might be perceived in 40 years from now. If you want to know more drop me a line or check out Faces of Mustang on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Faces of Mustang was also featured on Ford Social.