Cars, Culture, and Etc.

Analysis: Subaru WRX

In Analysis, Photography, Review on March 10, 2008 at 9:16 pm

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From Wikipedia: Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, “happy accidents,” and alternative film processing are often considered part of the “Lomographic Technique.”

So what better car to photograph using my new Holga 135 than the new and apparently ugly Impreza WRX sedan? My shots and analysis after the jump.

I spontaneously bought a Holga purely as a toy, one that I can take to photograph life as I see fit. Alfred’s Camera Page has a great post about why LOMOgraphy, of which my new camera is a part of, is rubbish. I tend to agree.

However, with automotive reviews, 99 percent of the photographers are guilty of taking photos at the same angles. (Yes, that’s the same reviewer, with the photos taken between April, 2006 and February, 2008.) My prerogative? Do things differently.

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The WRX is one of those cars enthusiasts know at a glance. It’s got street cred to young drivers like the Mustang has to older ones. Or something like that. From this angle, it’s not apparent it’s even a Subaru. I mean, look at that Mazda3-esque headlight.

Two things make this WRX a dead giveaway: the hood scoop, and the crease that runs in between the front grille and headlights. Every Impreza has this line.

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Despite the simple engine layout and low centre of gravity, Subaru has never bothered to clean up its engine bays. I applaud them, because engine covers suck. It’s nice to know where everything is; tuners can even take a look at the super small intercooler (that silver cheese grater) and plastic intake manifold (X-shaped piping) to plan their first set of modifications.

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With the Lomo, this shot is incredibly hard to focus. I mean, you’re standing right over the hood, there’s a separate viewfinder (IE can’t see when you’re in focus), and framing is a hit-and-miss. But I like this shot because it still shows where dirt pools in the hood scoop, and you can count all six stars in Subaru’s logo — Subaru is the Japanese name for the star cluster Pleiades. Pleiades has seven stars (the Seven Sisters) but apparently the logo represents the five smaller companies that joined to form one large firm — hence the big star. It’s thinking similar to Audi’s four rings that represent Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer.

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I’m a big fan of this shot. The car obviously isn’t in focus, but with the Subaru it somehow doesn’t matter too much. It’s not a car that should be seen standing still. It looks far better weaving through narrow dirt lanes, kicking up plumes of dirt.

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Ah: the spoiler. See the subtle winglet that separates the air coming down the side of the car from the air coming off the rear window? It’s scalloped to produce a little downforce.

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All WRX models come with a subtle bodykit that reduces ground clearance. Meh. Here, the new-for-Subaru-stylists beltline is clearly visible. It was first introduced on the Tribeca, then appeared on the new Legacy and Outback models, before being slapped on the Impreza. I think it’s an under appreciated detail. The other benefit of such a crease is to keep dirt from splashing onto the side windows.

And that’s what the WRX is about: function over form. Maybe it looks so unremarkable at first glance to prod people into the driver’s seat for a spin. It’ll never be a work of art in terms of its form…

But in function, it’s very much moving sculpture. M!

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