Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India.pdf
"Horn Please" is the mantra of the rapidly expanding Indian highway system, and some version of that sentiment is written on the back of practically every truck on the road. One unmistakable feature of the Indian highway is the presence of these brightly decorated trucks that ply the country's roads. The men who drive these trucks spend long hours on the road and can be away from their families for weeks at a time, so their trucks act as a second home and they take great pride in them. The interior and exterior of the trucks are colorfully decorated with paintings, stickers, garlands, tassels, and shrines, which are not only a unique form of folk art but also an expression of individualism.
For Horn Please photographer Dan Eckstein traveled across India's byzantine and burgeoning road network documenting these elaborately decorated trucks festooned with lights, brightly colored text, and paintings of eagles, tigers, lions, and pop cultural fixtures, corporate mascots, Hindu deities, geometric and mystical patterns—symbols representing a blinding mashup of new and old India. What Eckstein produced is a singular portrait of the subcontinent—distinctly Indian, and a vividly colored reflection of this country in flux between tradition and modernity. Horn Please serves as a psychedelic guide to design in India, from the hand-painted lettering covering the trucks, to the mindboggling use of color, to the specifically Indian patterns and motifs, and a showcase of symbology and visual vernacular of the subcontinent.
Dan Eckstein is a photographer based in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Dan spent four years studying art at Skidmore College in the foothills of the Adirondacks. After graduation, he moved to New York City and landed a job assisting renowned Magnum photographer Steve McCurry and discovered a lifelong passion for travel and photography. Dan's work has since been published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. He was included in The Collector's Guide to Emerging Art Photography (Humble Arts Foundation, 2009) and was recently awarded Best Photo Essay in PDN's World In Focus photo contest.