Photos of Swamp Buggy Racing from Florida's 'Mile O Mud'
Queens-based photographer Malcolm Lightner spent several years photographing this unique sport in his hometown of Four Corners, Florida. Now, he's making a photography book dedicated to it.
Each year from 2002 to 2013, New York-based photographer Malcolm Lightner made a trip to his hometown of Four Corners, Florida, to snap pics of swamp buggy racing for his series, Mile O Mud.
"I was attracted to swamp buggy racing because it is an event that is unique to the part of Florida in which I was born," Lightner told VICE. "The races were at one time an integral part of the community and there was a swamp buggy parade that took place every year, which I went to as a kid. The parade still exists, but it certainly is not as accepted by the larger Naples community as it once was."
To Lightner, these events are sort of like time travel: "The stories [the locals told] always made me feel like I was shooting in a time that somehow stood still. I suppose I felt connected to the past of the sport more than the present, and wondered what it was like in the early years and what is must have been like to be a true pioneer in South Florida like my great grandparents—a time when one lived off the land, fished, and hunted."
Lightner's personal understanding of this demographic is one that helped him build relationships with his subjects. "It took several years to connect with the array of individuals that I did," he explains. "In the beginning, I chose those that I had a connection with, such as Eddie Chesser, a not-so-distant relative and a Swamp Buggy Champion. I also was very much interested in making portraits of the people surrounding the sport in an honest and respectful sort of way. I would travel the terrain and make connections with a small group and would then take aim at what I wanted. They intrigued me and I think I in turn intrigued them in a strange way."
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Now, Lightner has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a photography book about Floridian Swamp Buggy Racing. There's only 12 about hours left to help fund Mile O Mud, to be published by Powerhouse Books, so if you like what you see, you know what to do.
See more photos from Mile O Mud here.