Long before Craigslist and other efficient online marketplaces, the only way to find a good used vehicle was through the local classified ads.
These text ads were as short as distress codes because you were charged by the line. Even a brief sentence could cost lots more than just four or five words.
With a little practice, one could learn the real story of what was on offer, especially for pickup trucks.
The absence of a price meant that the seller was delusional. Ditto for the phrase, “call for price.” “Runs great” meant that it runs great when it gets around to running. My favorite, “great work truck” meant that there was more rust than metal.
Last year I created a series of portraits for an Alabama credit union. The sessions took place in Birmingham. For this project, many hands made for fast work. Two families offered their homes for locations. We were also loaned a truck to use as our main prop.
If there would have been an accompanying classified ad it would have said, “great photoshoot truck, no charge.” In this case, it wasn’t an exaggeration.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.