Sophie Green is a multi-award winning social documentary and portrait photographer based in London.
Her work has both been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House and Houses Of Parliament and published by the likes of The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Man About Town, i-D Magazine and more.
Her work explores aspects of British culture and communities who are drawn together by mutual circumstance. These subjects of society who are often under represented in the mainstream & of whom harbour common misconceptions, judgements and stereotypes. This has led to work on themes of afro hair salons, horse racing, travellers along with the aforementioned banger & stock car racing and street car culture.
Her work aims to provide a platform for these subjects to tell their story without prejudice. In believing that trust and respect are fundamental to creating emotional and revealing photography which portrays the subjects & their lives truthfully, many of her projects require a period of several years to develop.
Here she discusses her personal highlights from works within car cultures.
I’d have to say my favourite image from my series ‘Bangers & Smash’ would be the portrait of Danielle – the devoted girlfriend who’s watching her boyfriend race around the track from the safety of the stands. I love the stars tattooed on her back and the way her hair is perfectly placed in front of her shoulder. Danielle was all made up, in her dress, makeup and jewelry and it just seemed such an interesting juxtaposition to me against the dirty, outdated backdrop of Wimbledon Stadium.
I photographed Lexie at Arena Essex in the mayhem of the pits - after a banger race the drivers struggle back to base where the crew only have a few minutes to resuscitate their cars in time for the next heat. Lexie was waiting patiently by her cousin's car, looking very sweet with her oil stained face and dungarees. I imagine she was her family's little helper and lucky mascot that day.
My series 'A Day At The Races' focuses on the boy racer youth subculture – which has taken me to regional racetracks and super-sized car festivals where the racing community compete and socialise with like minded car enthusiasts. The car has always been symbolic of how well one is doing in society and within the racing world this is even more exaggerated. It’s a modern day version of peacocking. For these youths, the car is a vital tool in progressing their journey through the road of life.
For me one of the most compelling notions to come out of my ‘A Day At The Races’ series is the theme of masculinity. How much of its appeal is about esteem, achievement, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect and respect from others?
‘Dented Pride’ is a series of banger & stock car surface abstractions – whilst shooting I fell in love with the dented, scratched and textured surfaces of the car exteriors. Where some would maybe just see damage and destruction, I saw beauty. At the start of the event typically a banger car will be decorated with fresh paintwork. Covered in funny and charming slogans, including nicknames and messages to girlfriends, each car forms a unique work of art in its own individualistic way. But as the cars compete the wear and tear builds layer upon layer as a result of the collisions and crashes creating new compositions and textures. The scratches and textures are made completely by chance – I love that randomness.