Dan Eckstein: Horn Please
I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Eckstein at the Photolucida Portfolio Reviews and was introduced to his terrific typologies of Indian trucks and drivers from his series, Horn Please. Powerhouse Books recently published a book of this work under the same title (it can be ordered through Powerhouse or Amazon). Dan traveled across India capturing the revealing interiors and brightly decorated exteriors of trucks and captured a culture of pride and hard work.
Dan is a photographer based in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Dan spent four years studying photography at Skidmore College in the foothills of the Adirondacks. After graduation, he moved to New York City to assist renowned Magnum photographer Steve McCurry. He later assisted Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey in Paris.
Dan’s work has been published widely, and he was included in The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography. He was recently awarded Best Photo Essay in PDN’s World In Focus photo contest and was included in its American Photography 30.
Horn Please could be considered the mantra of the Indian highway, and some version of the phrase is written on the back of practically every truck on the road in India today. While shooting this project, I drove 10,000km over the course of two years documenting the trucks, drivers and roadside culture of India. A book of the project, titled “Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India”, is published by powerHouse Books.
One unmistakable feature of the Indian highway is the presence of the brightly decorated trucks that ply the country’s roads. The men who drive these trucks spend long hours on the road and can be away from their families for weeks at a time, so their trucks act as a second home and they take great pride in them. The interior and exterior of the trucks are colorfully decorated with paintings, stickers, garlands, tassels, and shrines, which are not only a unique form of folk art but also an expression of individualism.
I traveled across India’s byzantine and burgeoning road network documenting these elaborately decorated trucks festooned with lights, brightly colored text, paintings of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian deities, pop cultural fixtures and geometric patterns–symbols representing a blinding mashup of new and old India. What I produced is a vividly colored reflection of this country in flux between tradition and modernity. Horn Please serves as a psychedelic guide to design in India and a showcase of the visual vernacular of the subcontinent.
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