You've read about it before—young millennials aren't into cars (at least so they say). Maybe it's because social media, smartphones and video games fulfill the lives of teens in ways cars cannot. Maybe it's because a higher cost of living has caused cars to become more of a luxury item than a necessary appliance. Either way, it's a concern that the industry is trying to figure out.
However, there's a dichotomy from what the statistics indicate and what the thriving tuner car community is experiencing. The same social media, smartphones and new technology that irk the car industry arguably propels the passion for modified cars for young adults. Thanks to tools like Instagram and YouTube as well as car culture sites like The Drive (hi!) and Speedhunters, it has never been easier for like-minded enthusiasts to connect and expose themselves to all the automotive subcultures the world has to offer.
One of the leading influencers in this realm is renowned automotive photographer Larry Chen, who is responsible for some of the most beautiful photos you've ever seen. Working for Speedhunters, Larry has worked very closely with Hoonigan on the sets of Ken Block's Gymkhana, with Formula Drift in competitions around the world, as well as countless genius builders in between.
For Larry, the mission is simple—to share every aspect of what car culture has to offer.
"I always think if anyone is pouring their heart and soul into what they like, then I should take a look at it too. I should love it too, just as much they do," Chen said.
"It really is a community effort to keep the passion going. Even if it's just a little niche, I always try to find it and showcase it."
Chen tells aspiring automotive photographers people to just get out and shoot and to fulfill as much out of life as possible. Fancy camera equipment isn't a requirement—to prove a point, Chen's Instagram page (which now has more than 151,000 followers) is shot only with a Samsung phone camera and insists it's more important to put yourself in front of something cool and just making the best of out of the environment.
As for his legacy, Chen hopes that after he's long gone, his photos will leave a mark and encourage others to keep car culture alive.
Check out Chen's candid interview with YouTube channel Gears and Gasoline in their "Art of Speedhunting" episode below: