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Gerd Ludwig has covered the longterm effects of Chernobyl and traveled to Amazonian rainforests for stories, but he kept closer to home for his series “Sleeping Cars,” shot in Los Angeles where he now lives. On view at Fahey/Klein Gallery until March 19 (and published as a book from Edition Lammerhuber in April) Ludwig’s images show a peaceful city at night while observing the tender care Angelenos take with their cars. In images that seem to expand on Robert Frank’s iconic “Covered car – Long Beach, California,” 1956, Ludwig finds vintage or late model cars covered or parked naked on the street and nestled in driveways, lit by moonlight or neon. In a city where driving is most people’s primary means of transportation, Ludwig asks in a statement, “where do all those cars go to rest?”, and describes his nighttime search for “cars that speak to me.”

He writes, “Like a devoted bird watcher I have learned to recognize their sleeping patterns. With voyeuristic pleasure I’ve spied on them in their nightgowns. I’ve watched some sleep in the nude; some take afternoon naps and a few lucky ones get to sleep together. I find covered cars more in L.A. than anywhere else. Here, middle-class families generally own more than one car, but their homes only have one-car garages. So many cars are left parked on the street for an extended period – lovingly covered, especially during holidays, when their owners treat them like crated pets. Around the 4th of July is a good time to find them — the concerned cover their beloved cars to protect them from damaging celebratory fireworks.” Often made on foggy nights, Ludwig has sometimes been stopped by police, who have wondered what he’s doing. “After being shown a few of the car photographs on my iPad, they’ve even colluded with me and tipped me off about interesting cars to check out in the neighborhood.”