Family Car Trouble
Family Car Trouble

Family Car Trouble

Regular price $ 24.95



Second edition
Softcover with flaps

128 pages, 74 plates
6 x 8.75 in.
ISBN 978-1-942953-49-4

"Family. Car. Trouble. Three nouns. When doesn't trouble follow both family and car? A tender series of pictures: I fell in love with everybody. Especially the car." – Sally Mann



With Family Car Trouble, Gus Powell plays with the form of the novel, both as material object and as narrative vehicle for expressing interior life. The work records and reckons with the arrival of children, the departure of a father, and the maintenance of a difficult 1992 Volvo 940 station wagon. 

A new classic of the Automotive Bereavement Parenting genre.

Gus Powell was born in New York City in 1974. His previous books include The Lonely Ones (J&L Books, 2015) and The Company of Strangers (J&L Books, 2003).


Selected Press and Reviews:

"Powell tells a tale of life as it happens, poetically interwoven, stylistically cohesive. His pictures are close to the bone; there are no photographs of him, but he is, nevertheless, present throughout.” – Elisabeth Biondi

“I yearn for my driving days.” – Maria Friedlander

Gus Powell photographs through and across the deep range of emotions that exist within the microcosm of family.  He does this in a subtle and honest way, reminding us of the big and small, the joyful and the painful, and the dark and light moments in life and in death.  The work transmits deep feeling for the challenges and magic of being between young children and older parents." – Elinor Carucci

"Through my own work pairing memories and motors, I relate to the therapeutic nature of Gus Powell’s touching and fragile family epos.  The love and care of a family member and a family car is a visceral journey. Their eventual breakdown proves photography's continual strength as a tool for personal storytelling.” – Erik Kessels

"2019 was a banner year for photo books. Dozens of publications impressed me with their creative horsepower. But the one that touched me the most, Gus Powell’s Family Car Trouble, is as modest, sturdy and lovable as the 1993 Volvo it features.” – Alec Soth, Photo-Eye

"Gus Powell’s masterful family photo novella. Beautiful, sad and bittersweet. Perfect. The Volvo cried, and I cried with it.” – Christian Patterson, Photo-Eye

"Gus Powell’s book is a delicate balance of extremes – motion and stillness, life and death, skin and steel – a young family, a dying father and the constant maintenance of a 1992 Volvo. The car provides the necessary comic metaphor from what otherwise would have been an oppressive narrative. Many photographers have tried to share their parental loss but few have succeeded. Family Car Trouble is regarded as “a new classic of the Automotive Bereavement Parenting genre.” – Jeff Ladd, PhotoBookStore Magazine

"Gus Powell’s new book Family Car Trouble is one of the most touching and thoughtful works I have seen in some time. It is a tribute to Powell’s mental fortitude that he was able to conceive of such a moving project at a time of such despair. While we grapple with the death of his father, Powell reminds us of the wonderment of life by turning his lens towards his two curious and energetic kids. The interweaving stories of life, death, and Gus’s unceasing car troubles reminds us all that in the face of tragedy—whether you are ready for it or not—life moves on or, in this case, hovers in the mechanic’s parking lot. Powell’s deeply personal story is accentuated by the scale, design, and sequence of the book; as usual, everything is keenly considered in a Gus Powell production.” – Christopher McCall, Director, Pier 24 Photography, LensCulture

Family Car Trouble