In an ever more environmentally conscious age, the car is fast falling out of favour, meanwhile the internet has facilitated a surge in communication between car enthusiasts everywhere. Bringing together this estranged community, “Petrol Heads” sheds light on the world of the contemporary car enthusiast, revealing the circumstances of their lives and place in society. Situated proudly in their cars, the owners are tentatively encapsulated, they gaze at the road ahead, simultaneously contemplating the perceived and material consequences of their very world. The cars, shining like jewels, are first to warrant our attention, as we look at the owner, deciding as to whether they fit a stereotype associated with their car. It is the surroundings of the driveway, garage or unit which can communicate a greater amount of information both with regards to their life and the position of the car in society. As can be seen in the images, the value of the car does not always correlate with the standing of the property it is sheltered in. With their interest consuming a disproportionate amount of time and money, some buildings stand in great contrast to the car, their purpose purely functional. Conversely, some cars sit comfortably in a suburban setting, communicating a particularly affluent lifestyle, whether intended or not. With the environment of the car forming an important part of the image, and it is here where more similarities and patterns arise. Ultimately, the owners are cocooned in a world of their own making, and once within it, any other concerns fade into the background. The very background which tells so much matters so little in this scenario. As one petrol head said: “Here it is. It's the only thing that's just mine, for me only.” And this is what the project aims to share, the exclusive and highly personal car, which is just a car, yet represents everything the petrol head desires.

Petrol Heads was exhibited 15th-21st July 2011 at SW1 Gallery, London.

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