It’s never easy to review a book that is primarily photographs. Photographs are always beautiful, especially if they are of nature and other things that are naturally beautiful in themselves. But old, rusty abandoned cars and gas pumps? Apparently Maine photojournalist David Hill considers them beautiful, enough to scour the highways, byways and back roads of Maine to find these treasures. Full Service: Notes From the Rearview Mirror (2015 Islandport Press) is a beautiful book filled with pictures of, well, junk. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and Mr. Hill lets his cameras convince us of the form over function beauty of these cars quietly passing the days while slowly returning to the ground, or until someone happens upon them and determines they are worth restoring.
You may not find the photos of closed down service stations to be particularly appealing, but when you consider the hustle and bustle they were once the site of and how the dutiful attendant would fill your tank, check fluid levels and even check your tire pressure (all for free), then nostalgia plucks at the heartstrings of the soul, taking us back to those simpler, friendlier days.
There is also a fair amount of explanatory text by the author, just enough to understand his fascination with the subject matter and how he got certain shots, personal reminiscences and so on. A perfect gift book for the classic automobile lover in the family. I gave a copy to a workmate who has an interest in restoring old vehicles and he just loved the photos.
Check out the official YouTube trailer of Full Service: