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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Rust is so commonplace that it is easy to overlook the beauty in what is actually a destructive process. There are so many negative connotations to this word, too: old, discarded, forgotten, weakened, decaying and many more. When I come across something that is rusting, it makes me sad. I can envision the day when the object was new and shining with a fresh coat of paint beckoning someone to buy it, take it home, and use it to better their lives. Then, after time, for any number of reasons, it is set or thrown aside and forgotten. If a thing could have feelings, I imagine this now rusting object, must feel lonely and abandoned in a place where all it can do is remember the times when it was useful and important. Rusting objects for me are story tellers. The picture above was captured at Old Car City, an amazing place where there are literally acres and acres of cars and trucks that have been brought there to "die." I went there in the fall of 2016 for a photography workshop. Most of the other participants were older men who have had a life-long love affair with cars. From hood ornaments to hubcaps, rotting interiors, and, yes, rusting paint jobs Old Car City is a gold mine for the photographer. There is over ten acres over which vehicles of all sorts and descriptions have been deposited to slowly weaken and decay and, ultimately, to disappear. It's interesting that some entrepreneur decided he could make money charging people an entrance fee to walk around a vehicle graveyard. It's an interesting concept, and it is working. There's not much else happening in this little wide place in the road just north of White Pine, Georgia. But Old Car City has become famous, and people come from all over to walk down the pine straw and grass pathways between these discards, taking pictures, and often reminiscing about their first car or the cars their dad had when they were growing up. And while I found it a sad place, I loved it, too.

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