Take Two for September 17, 2013

Picture This: The eerie auto graveyard below Mulholland Drive's 'Dead Man's Curve'

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"Force Stop" by photographer Jason Knight.

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

The Phantom Dodge by photographer Jason Knight.

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Pulling For Success by photographer Jason Knight.

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"Open The Trunk" by photographer Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"Gathering Nutrients" by photographer Jason Knight.

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"Dead Man's Curve" by photographer Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"In Dropsy" by photographer Jason Knight

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"New Sport," by photographer Jason Knight.

Jason Knight

Jason Knight

"Surrounded By Muses," by photographer Jason Knight.


Now it's time for another installment of Picture This, our continuing series with photographers about their work.

L.A.-based photographer Jason Knight has a knack for capturing the beauty in abandoned and decaying places. In a series called Dead Man's Curve, he risked life and limb to take shots of a car crash graveyard just below a dangerous section of Mulholland Drive near Laurel Canyon.


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Dubbed Dead Man's Curve, the hairpin turn has claimed a number of casualties over the years, and the skeletons of cars dating as far back as the 1950s sit overturned and rusted through. They've been there for decades, but Jason was one of the first to capture them on film.

"It took me three attempts to start to find the cars," said Knight on Take Two. "I almost gave up, but on my way back from one trail I saw a color that didn't quite match in the hillside. It was the rust color of the Phantom Dodge. "

Knight says that he tries to honor the identity of the car or its former owners by naming his images after any text left on the car's shell. The Phantom Dodge got its name from a faded stencil located in the rear of car. 

"The entire car is rusted out. Rubber, leather, all organic materials are totally disintegrated at this point," said Knight. "It kind of reminds me of a skeleton that is returning back to the earth."

Though he managed to find the cars, it took some careful maneuvering to pinpoint exactly where they are. 

"The first time I went there I was hoping to find the cars and shoot them at sunset. I couldn't find any, I overstayed my welcome and I got lost off trail," said Knight. "I was crawling up the shale, the shale crumbling underneath my hands, trying to get out of the canyon. It was a little sketchy and I learned my lesson."

To capture the eerie quality of the scene, Knight shot his images on slide film then cross-processed the film to enhance the natural colors and blow out the highlights in the image. 

"One of the ways that I try to bring out the beauty is I saturate colors, so I'm really looking for nature coming back...even if there was tragedy, these cars now serve as a coral reef above water for shrubs growing," said Knight. "I'm really trying to highlight that this is a cycle of life. It's not the end. There is tragedy, but there's hope as well."

In addition to his series on Dead Man's Curve, Knight also seeks out abandoned buildings, gymnasiums, theatres and amusement parks. You can check out more of his images at his website


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