If This Car Could Talk

What do Tyler's car interiors say about car owners and life in these parts?

πŸ“· all photos by Chris French

Some of the most telling and intimate artifacts of people’s lives lie not in their bedrooms but in their cars.

Cars seats and floorboards hold accumulations of detritus from work and hobbies. They tell stories of nourishment en route. They also hold symbols communicating what we value and how we pass time.

The collection of six photos from diverse Tyler neighborhoods β€” taken with permission β€” become a study about life in these parts.

Cars in motion tell stories about driving habits, traffic patterns and road conditions. But when cars are momentarily parked, another kind of revelation awaits a curious passer-by: a peek into the day-to-day of neighbors in multiple roles, often on the go.

Audi S4 Wagon, North Tyler.
2000 Dodge Ram 1500, east Tyler.
2002 BMW 325ci, north Tyler, breathalyzer in center console.
2020 Nissan Sentra SV, south Tyler.
2008 Dodge Nitro, south Tyler.
1979 Mercedes-Benz 240D, south Tyler.

Chris French is an independent photographer based in Tyler who takes all of his photos through vintage film lenses. He is also a local musician and barista. French loves to share in the nostalgic feeling provided by photos and aims to bring that joy to others. To see more of Chris’ work, you can follow him at @mrcoffeeswag.

Love what you're seeing in our posts? Help power our local, nonprofit journalism platform β€” from in-depth reads, to freelance training, to COVID Stories videos, to intimate portraits of East Texans through storytelling.

Our readers have told us they want to better understand this place we all call home, from Tyler's north-south divide to our city's changing demographics. What systemic issues need attention? What are are greatest concerns and hopes? What matters most to Tylerites and East Texans?

Help us create more informed, more connected, more engaged Tyler. Help us continue providing no paywall, free access posts. Become a member today. Your $15/month contribution drives our work.

Support The Tyler Loop!

Previous articleCampV Provides One Stop Shop in a “Veteran Resource Desert”
Next articleWhy the Mayfair Building Matters
Jane Neal is the executive director of The Tyler Loop and storytelling director of Out of the Loop: True Stories about Tyler and East Texas. In addition to the Loop, she works at the Literacy Council of Tyler and attends Sam Houston State University remotely, where she studies sociology. Jane is a certified interfaith spiritual guide. She is a member of Leadership Tyler Class 33 and a former teacher of French at Robert E. Lee High School, where she ran a storytelling program called Senior Stories. Jane and her husband Don have four children.