Australian photographer Michael Corridore’s powerful project “Angry Black Snake” was photographed at a car festival in Victoria, Australia over a period of six years. The photographs were taken during burnout competitions. The hazy and ethereal effect of the scenes comes from the smoke emitted by the cars. “The smoke is a by-product of the competition where participants perform donuts with their high powered cars and try to pop their rear tires. The crowds love the spectacle and spur on the competitors by chanting and cheering. That atmosphere is highly charged and literally thick with acrid smoke from the tires.”
What attracted him to this long- term series? “I was drawn to the event through my interest in customized cars and the culture, which comes with that world. My intention was to photograph portraits of participants at the event as a point of departure. During one of the many burnout competitions, I became more fascinated by the landscape, the crowds and the censorship of these elements by the acrid dense smoke generated by the competitors and their customized cars. The smoke screen that envelops the crowd censors the landscape, and crowds change the form of the landscape. The smoke, although it appears to hang eternally in the photographs, would only last seconds, particularly if there were any breeze to speak of. I would not walk away form each event with many photographs that I was satisfied with, thus necessitating my annual pilgrimage to the event. The vale of the smoke created an uneasy sense of uncertainty, and manipulated the situation and the understanding of what was taking place.”
Feature Shoot Contributing Editor Carolyn Rauch is the Director of Photography at Newsweek.