Crash Devils: Demolition Derby Culture

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  • "It's adrenaline. It's dust and smoke. It's engines on fire, cars flipping, drivers caught up in the moment celebrating and cussing, bonding over their shared love of these machines.”

    I started photographing demolition derbies in 2009 on a whim. Once the visual drama unfolded that first time - I was hooked. The characters of the demolition derby are colorful, and the sport is pure adrenaline. It’s dangerous. It’s rough and dirty. But it’s too often dismissed as 'redneck behavior.'

    These mechanics spend weeks engineering their machines - only to smash them up within a span of ten or fifteen minutes. There is a surprising amount of strategy involved - from choice of car model and design to specialized driving tactics and styles. It's also an environment of teamwork and friendship. Fathers and sons build cars together, and whole families take part in the event. I hope those who see the photographs can find a new appreciation for demolition derby. It’s a pastime endowed with true American spirit and ingenuity.