Nostalgia is a word so often tossed around, it may well be losing its meaning. Someone even said, somewhat ironically, nostalgia is not what is used to be. Leave it to Kevin Banker to capture it and publish it on his Instagram or website. An FJ40 owner for almost a year and an art lover for a lifetime, Kevin is a freelance photographer and a yoga instructor who spoke to Legacy Overland about his fondness of all things outdoors and old school.
Kevin owns a 1976 mustard yellow FJ40, which he bought in 2017. That’s how he kept his promise to buy himself an FJ40 by his 40s: by buying a 40-year FJ40 at 40. “The first time I saw the FJ40 I was 15. I was enamored with the body style. ‘This looks so cool!’ A lot of my friends had Jeeps and Volkswagen Things, but the FJ40 always stood out to me. It will go anywhere you want to go; it just won’t go fast.”
Back in the day, he would ride in the back of a friend’s canary yellow FJ40 with no seatbelts, so he would have to hold the roll bar so he wouldn’t fly out. “It’s such a unique vehicle. Nothing else looks like it. Nothing else rides like it, nothing else sounds like it. I love the culture not only of the car itself but the love the people who own these vehicles have for them. Most people who have an FJ don’t want to get rid of it. They’ll roll that thing until the wheels fall off.”
So, what does the photographic style of an FJ40, yoga, outdoor, and vintage enthusiast look like? Warm and nostalgic. “Especially when photographing the FJ, I like to bring a more nostalgic feel about it. I spent so long shooting sharp, digital, “give me all the clarity you can” photos, and now I’ve started to go backwards to more analog stuff. A lot of the photos I take of the FJ, especially with my dog in it, I take them with a Lomography Petzval 85mm lens. It’s a revamp of an old large-format brass lens. It’s hard to use, as the focus is so thin. If you’re off by two inches, your photo is out of focus. But when it’s on, it’s so sharp and beautiful. Most of the stuff I shoot now, I shoot with prime lenses.”
This isn’t a project of someone who only loves FJ40s; it’s an homage, a commitment in showing true respect for their legacy. “Seeing what you’re doing and showcasing [at Legacy Overland], this automotive lifestyle, this collection of people and cars and trucks, I see the love and the passion of rebuilding the past. It blows me away."
"Now that I own a classic vehicle, I opened my own eyes to the world of how much people really spend their hard-earned time restoring, loving and caring for these vehicles. I love seeing how you guys are portraying that in your Instagram posts and all of your social media. It’s such a gift to be able to bring back a nostalgic feel for someone. It warms my heart to see people care about them so much. Every time I get my green keychain out, every time my dog hears me click it, she starts bouncing off the walls, jumps right into the backseat, she’ll sit on the console, spin around and watch all the cars that are behind us, bouncing up and down.”