A beige Camry watching the world pass by a few years back. Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

I am periodically obsessed with the most boring, dull, commonplace cars.

There’s something interesting about, say, a second-generation Toyota Camry. They’re so common, so devoid of any kind of differentiating styling that they’re almost invisible. I had to train my brain to even see them.


But once I did, I started to adore those Camrys, and I began to notice all the different little dents and scuffs and repaints that made each individual vehicle unique. I started a little side project to photograph every one I saw in New York City and kept it up for a few months before the work got too fatiguing. Beyond the car itself, I saw the life that these cars had lived. You see the years reflecting off its faded paint, and also how well those old cloth interiors have held up over the years.

Today I pointed out that modifying a car doesn’t necessarily make it better, a lie we learned from the upgrade-reliant world of video games:

This sounds like boringness is creeping into my psyche, as reader Matt pointed out:


Indeed. Maybe there’s a place for the dull, for the plain, for the boring. Maybe they also need their moments of celebration when the world forgets about them, too.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter