I’ve been struggling for ideas for this module to be honest. I want to do something that will be unique and out the box as it were, I already knew from the first lesson we had with Andrew that I didn’t want to use the Perfect binding machine to make my book. I was interested in using the Japanese stitching method that we learnt in the first few lessons with the illustration group. I also want my book to have pages that can open flat.
So the idea
… I recently made friends with two brothers who were both banger racers who owned a joint garage with their friends and team mates. Who I had met on the first day or work experience photographing Tom Harris’ workshop as they are his cousins who were visiting for the day. They invited me down to take some pictures of their garage and their cars as they were interested in what I was doing at Toms garage taking photos. I didn’t want to turn it down, but I didn’t really know what the photos will be like or what purpose they will serve. I just went and took pictures for fun. And it was, I really got into the lives of Rickie and Patch building their cars up all week long just to smash it up the following weekend. I thought it was really cool.
The attraction to Banger Racing for me must have started as a kid. I used to live in Dagenham growing up, a short 15 minute car drive from Arena Essex, Lakeside which is one of the UK’s most well known oval. I remember when I was a kid being taken to Arena Essex to watch the banger racing once a month with my dad. I had a foam finger and a checkered race flag that I used to love wave around frantically at the cars. I loved it. I dont remember it in full detail as I was really really young, but I do remember that flag and foam finger. I used to run around the house with them both all day. My family actually has a close relation to banger racing too. My uncle used to do banger racing before I was born and my older sister used to be his ‘mascot’ with her name down the side of his pink Granada. We have tons of VHS home videos at home. I wasn’t around then, but it was a big deal for my uncle, sister, nan and mum who used to go out to watch my Uncle Darren race every weekend. This was about 1994. A year before I was born. I think it’s really cool to have this in our family and is probably why I’m so attracted to banger racing as a sport, I was practically bought up around it.
Back to the point, after taking the photos of Rickie and Patch, I showed them a few snaps on the camera screen and they seemed very happy with what I had taken. Rickie even made me take some photographs of his new road car. A brand new BMW 3 series. Nice. After that they invited me along to watch and take photos of their race the next day. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it as I had work on that Saturday night before the race. But I still agreed to come along, even if I was a few hours late. The understood and thought I had the best job in the world when I told them (lad banter).
Shooting the races
I decided to forget about the competition, I wanted to focus on just Rickie and Patch racing, I didn’t care for the other competitors, even in two former Banger World Champions were in the field. I just wanted to stick to photographing Rickie and Patch. Worked out well to be honest, was a bit hard to get them both as they were in the same class on track at the same time. So I had to keep track on whereabouts they were at all time. First races went well, no major damage to the cars, they worked their way up to the top 10 and kept the cars fairly unscathed. I ran back to their vans to try to get some images of their muddy faces, emotions and team fixing the cars. These are probably my favorite images of the whole set. I love the image of the man with the long grey hair and thor like beard smashing into a cars arch with a hammer and chistle. I feel like I got some great in pit style images from being there. I wish I got more of Patch and the other family members rooting the boys on.
Just before the final race of the day, it down poured and got dark super fast. Which meant there was literally no light. There were floodlights at the track, but honestly my iPhone could cast better light than what they could. Was truly awful. So I cranked up the ISO and shot wide open. It was such a struggle getting any sharp images as I had to find a balance of shutter speed to allow enough light in, as well as freeze some of the car. I didn’t mind if the wheels or background was blury at all, but when its just soft, I hated it. I did the best I could though with what I had. There were people using flashguns, but I didn’t fancy it. I didn’t want to produce un natural images. Ah well, I still like the images.