Whenever you roam the roads of Western Canada, along a country lane or busy highway, you’ll often see a familiar but frequently overlooked sight: derelict cars and trucks dotting the landscape, left to disappear eventually into the dust. Car afficionado, former racer, and long-time hobbyist photographer Steve Van Vlaenderen became enamoured with these remnants of yesteryear and began to set off on road trips with his partner Darlene to track down these forgotten curiosities.
Vanishing Wheels is Van Vlaenderen’s photographic homage to these vehicles sitting in what might be their final resting places, set amid rolling landscapes and junkyards, some swaddled by foliage, others hidden behind barns. He captures these vestiges—these vanishing wheels—and drags them from the dust to showcase them as a testament to our past and progression, our humanity, and ourselves.
This beautifully written and illustrated 125-page book has another purpose: proceeds from its sale will be donated to Parkinson Canada to fund research on the disease, with which the author and photographer himself lives.
About the Author: Steve Van Vlaenderen was involved in car racing in his 20s and 30s and has always loved cars. To him, the automobile is a triumph of the human spirit and its drive to create and to connect. So it’s no surprise he combined his passion for cars with his love of photography when confronted with the question of “What to do now?” when the Covid-19 pandemic and, later, advancing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, curtailed his continuing work on the passion project he had created – Sail on with Parkinson’s – an endeavour which saw Van Vlaenderen and his partner Darlene sail their 31 foot Niagara sloop Cloud on the open waters of the Great Lakes to raise awareness for the disease. Van Vlaenderen shifted gears and channelled his enduring drive into a new mantra: “no matter what.” Vanishing Wheels was born. Steve Van Vlaenderen lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with his partner, Darlene Hildebrand.
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