The Texas hot rod scene encompasses the exhaust, speed, rust, and chrome beloved not just by greasers and gearheads but also by families and pinup girls, bikers and rockabilly dolls, rockers and regular Joes. The Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round Up, one of America’s premier car shows, attracts hot rod and custom car fans from around the world, bringing them to Austin every spring. George Brainard began photographing the Round Up in 2003 on behalf of the show hosts, The Kontinentals Car Club. Finding himself interested as much in the crowd and the culture as in the cars, he began taking pictures of people at the show.
All Tore Up presents portraits of these people, who are as distinctive as the cars they love. As Brainard observes, “Hot rods and customized cars are works of art. You take an old car, cut it into pieces, and put it back together following your own vision. You bring something to life that previously existed only in your imagination.” The people who do this “are drawn to aesthetic expression, and they materialize it in their own selves, their clothes, and their bodies.” Allowing his subjects to pose themselves against a plain white background and write their own captions for their photographs, Brainard cuts through the visual spectacle of the car show and finds the essence of the people who are a part of it, capturing a fascinating pop subculture of American life.
Foreword: When Fast and Fashion Fuse with Fuel
All Tore Up
George Brainard is a sixth-generation Texan whose photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Times of London, and many other national and international publications and advertisements. In his twenty-plus years of professional experience, he has photographed everything from homeless teenagers to rock stars and chickens. A former working musician, Brainard has also shot more than fifty CD covers.
“Why, this splendid [book] may be just the ticket to tempt you into putting on your fave-rave garb of the hour and tiptoeing into a land of plenty: plenty of action and plenty of traction, on and off the blacktop. Hold on tight! It’s a quick-paced view of what’s tried and true. Now with that in hand, strike up the band!
Step on it!”
—Billy F. Gibbons, from the foreword
"Brainard's hot rod portraits capture a sense of individualistic pride that runs deep in the culture and spans across ages, genders or stereotypes."
—the Houston Chronicle
"What you will learn from the book is what Brainard learned at the car shows—that a Texas hot rod event is probably the best place in the world for people watching."
—Pro Photo Daily
"From Brainard's portraits, it is evident that people themselves are like living works of art, externally embellished in expression and internally rich in history and meaning."
"Every single one of Brainard's shots has an undeniable aura of authenticity. They stop time just long enough for you to get a better look at the men, women and children who live and breathe hot rods and custom cars."