Finding the Beauty in Banger Racing

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© Sophie Green

Through the dynamic lens of British photographer Sophie Green, dented and damaged stock cars are elevated to the realms of abstract sculpture

British social documentary photographer Sophie Green never fails to create intriguing and insightful images, and her latest project, Dented Pride, is no exception. Green has collaborated with LAW Magazine and Ditto Press on the limited edition publication and exhibition, which runs in conjunction with her series Bangers and Smash, and comprises of photographs of just-raced banger and stock cars. Through her lens, surface abrasion is transformed into puddles of bright, warped colours and oddly artful patches of scratched metal; if you were to look at the series before learning about its context, in fact, you wouldn't be foolish to liken them to something in the realm of a Jeff Koons painting, so brilliant are the results.

In the context of banger and stock car racing these photographs make perfect sense, proving just how deft Green has become at documenting the essence of British subcultures (last year she photographed travellers for a series entitled Gypsy Gold). “On first glance the beauty within this eccentric community isn’t obvious,” she explains, but she dug deeper: “I looked below the surface. There is so much beauty to be found within this cultural phenomenon, not only in the human spirit of the participants but in the physical fabric of the sport.” This unlikely beauty manifests itself in Dented Pride through her focus on the destruction of cars that have been gutted and reinforced in preparation for the races, only to be torn apart on the tracks. The speed and energy of the races translate through sweeping scratches and thunderous dents, evoking the chaos of the sport. You can imagine the scene is almost sublime.     

Green’s interest in creating surface abstractions of the cars stems from the fact that they are “covered in funny and charming slogans, including nicknames and messages to girlfriends,” so that “each car forms a unique work of art,” she explains. The daring spectrum of scraped and scarred paint is unexpectedly charming, and serves to fulfil Green’s aim of “celebrating the idiosyncratic beauty within this colourful aspect of British culture”.

Happy Monday! #AnOtherHappyMonday

Dented Pride by Sophie Green in collaboration with LAW Magazine is out now, published by Ditto Press.