Photo Gallery: Vans and the Places Where They Were


Vans tend to remind us of stoners, our cousin’s reggae band, and that time that Phoebe and Monica got this bitchin’ ride. But thanks to our friends at Nylon, we’ve been turned out to Joe Stevens, a Cali-based photographer and filmmaker who’s changing our reference point. Stevens describes his ongoing project Vans And the Places They Were as a documentation of vans in conjunction with “the dialogue which exists between a van’s design aesthetic and that of its surrounding environment.”

He also notes that vans have been disappearing from the roads, making his subject harder and harder to track down – and at the same time, film photography is declining to make way for digital. “Consequently,” Stevens says, “the goal of the project is to one day shoot the last remaining van on the final frame of photographic film in existence. Then the project will be finished.” He may be at it for a while. Caution: these photos may make you want to drop everything, buy a van, and ride around Southern California with your band for the rest of your life, sleeping on a mattress in the back. You’ve been warned.

Orange Econoline. Culver City, CA. Winter 2010.

White Tradesman with Stripes. Near the Airport, Burlingame, CA. Winter 1996.

White Dodge with Red Wheel. Beneath the 110 Interchange, Los Angeles. Fall 2007.

Brown VanDura with Tan Stripes. Deming, NM. Winter 2009.

White Dodge. Los Angeles, CA. Winter 2010.

Orange Tradesman with Stripes. Venice Beach, CA. Winter 2007.

Black Econoline with Blue Mural. Castro District, San Francisco. Summer 1997.

Blue Tradesman. Santa Monica, CA. Winter 2010.