Photographer John Maggiotto was born into a large family from Buffalo, New York. When Maggiotto was 11, his father taught him basic darkroom techniques. In college, Maggiotto's interest in photography followed a fine art approach. He used only the then recently introduced Polaroid SX-70 camera, though his instructors dismissed his choice as "not serious." His work was exclusively about television, and the painterly color palette of the Polaroid format. Maggiotto was part of the artists' collective that formed the alternative space Hallwalls in the late seventies. Here his work was recognized and included in a 1979 Albright-Knox Art Gallery exhibition in Buffalo, New York. In 1980 he moved to Washington, D.C., to work at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Abandoning the traditional paper-based photograph, Maggiotto began to print his work on large plates of plaster, a true departure from the precious, intimate realm of the SX-70's three-inch square. As in the earlier work, he takes the imagery from television.
In his auto series, Maggiotto harks back to the family business of auto repair and service. With these photos, his interests in cars and photography merge to produce close-ups of the interior and exterior surfaces that define the motoring experience of the 1950s and 60s.