Last Updated on 01/17/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
Out of ideas for a photography project? Here’s one that should inspire you to make something brimming with out-of-the-box ideas and execution. Award-winning production studio INK collaborated with acclaimed commercial photographer Benedict Redgrove to create an edgy project titled Dragster Drivers.
From the title alone, the London-based partnership seems like a collection of straightforward snaps of dragster drivers out in the tracks, behind the scenes, or dressed in their racing best. Maybe, it could even be somewhat like Kremer and Johnson Photography’s documentary portraits of the El Mirage racing scene. But, you’ll be surprised to know that, despite the human form and poses, there are no actual drivers in any of the Dragster Drivers photos.
In place of human racers are mannequins dressed in complete vintage racing suits. They are also fitted with full-coverage gas masks to conceal their blank expressions and give them an ominous aura. Since there’s very little that is strange or unnatural about the drivers — perhaps only the empty stares behind the garish masks, actually — the whole set can pass as conventional portraiture. But, since there’s not a single human in the photos, the focus is on the fashion element of a dragster racer’s life through the suits they wear.
INK Studio retouched Benedict Redgrove’s unique portraits to highlight the vintage colors and textures even further, giving the entire set a “fun but unsettling edge.” The result is a “bold, distinctive, and a little off-kilter” project that commands the attention and challenges conventions. I wish they would do more of these unique fashion “portraits.”