About this project
SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE:
SOUTH BY SOUTH EAST (S[x]SE) Photography Magazine (Volume 4, Issue 6) http://southphotography.blogspot.com/2015/05/sxse-for-late-spring-2015.html
A KIND VOICE ON SPORTS - BlogTalkRadio Live Interview http://www.blogtalkradio.com/akindvoice/2015/05/13/a-kind-voice-on-sports
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS BLOG http://blog.sva.edu/2015/04/sva-faculty-member-malcolm-lightner-documents-swamp-buggy-racing/
ELIZABETH AVEDON BLOG http://elizabethavedon.blogspot.com/2015/04/malcolm-lightner-mile-o-mud-kickstarter.html
DEAR DAVE MAGAZINE http://deardavemagazine.com/issue/14-2/malcolm-lightner/
To support this campaign, please choose a "reward" from the list on the right hand side and click to make your pledge. All pledges will be fulfilled upon successful completion of this KickStarter campaign.
DEADLINE to support is May 28th.
ARTIST NARRATIVE: After moving to New York in 1999, I began to think about my heritage and the place where I grew up, Naples, Florida. I am a fourth-generation, native Floridian. My mother’s family goes back to the settler days, when this region of South Florida was wild and largely uninhabitable swampland.
Looking back, I began to reminisce about the landscape that was so familiar to me as a child: the pine and palm trees, the swampland, the alligators, the heat and humidity, and the sunny blue skies and pristine green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And I recalled the mud-racing event that originated in my hometown, Swamp Buggy Racing at the “Mile O’ Mud”. The homespun buggies and their drivers represent a specific Floridian vernacular and play a central role in the cultural identity of Collier County. As a boy, I lived in a trailer park located down the street from the first official swamp buggy track off Radio Road. My Great-uncle R.L., one of the original swamp buggy drivers, helped to formalize the race into a legitimate sporting event, which officially launched in 1949.
THE PROJECT: Before embarking on my “MILE O' MUD” project in October 2002, my encounters with the swamp buggy races consisted of a few abbreviated visits to the track as a child, with my mother, who was not interested in the races but in locating my father, who had gone missing for several days.
I began to photograph swamp buggy racing to pay homage to my family heritage and to document what I consider to be a rare slice of Americana. On my first visit to the track, I drove into the parking lot of the Florida Sports Park, heard the engines of the buggies roar, and witnessed the great plumes of water trailing behind the boat-dragster hybrids. I could feel the vibrations from the raw horsepower pound against my chest, and it almost took my breath away. I thought to myself that this was going to be fun! The races occur three weekends out of the year, and I managed to make the trip at least once a year from 2002 to 2013 except 2005, when the races were cancelled due to Hurricane Wilma.
In my own mind, this project felt like time travel. I experienced firsthand the people and culture that were a large part of my parents’ life that I never witnessed but that felt somehow defining. Initially, it was the buggies themselves that attracted me, though I soon began to discover endless narrative possibilities and connections among the drivers, spectators and enthusiasts. I unveiled family connections that I did not know existed and heard numerous stories about my father, who had the reputation of a hard worker in the plastering and construction community. He was an all-around tough guy, someone you would not want to mess with.
I came to understand Swamp Buggy Racing as a metaphor for life’s daily struggles and the innate drive to overcome obstacles against great odds while trying to maintain a sense of humor and grace. The races demonstrated to me the All-American desire to compete to win as well as the power of family and community.
"Malcolm Lightner’s Mile O’ Mud is a genuine look inside one of the most notorious cultures in the American south that many have heard of, but rarely get to witness in full color. His photographs define the personalities and traditions of the southern rebel lifestyle with a stunning incisiveness, presenting the mudslung swamp heritage not only as a spectacle, but a home."
- Aint-Bad Magazine
"I've been delighted by Malcolm Lightner's 'Mile O' Mud' series for several years now, his photographs capture the country culture surrounding Florida's Swamp Buggy races. I can just hear the racing engines propelling the swamp buggies through the mud with a chorus of cicadas singing along the banks. These photographs bring out the southern roots in me – gators and pistols, mud wrestling and beauty pageants, Budweiser and BBQ – images full of my favorite rednecks and they are proud of it. Southern charm at its best."
– Elizabeth Avedon
BOOK DETAILS: Introduction by Padgett Powell and Essay by Malcolm Lightner. Book Design by Kiki Bauer Design. Clothbound Hardcover, 12.125 x 11.875 inches (landscape), 136 pages. Photographs: approx. 86 in color. Publication date: Spring 2016
Padgett Powell is the author of eight books of fiction, most recently You & Me. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Paris Review, Esquire, and in anthologies including Best American Short Stories and Best American Sports Writing. He has won the Prix de Rome, a Whiting Award, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: Established in 1995, powerHouse Books, world-renowned and critically acclaimed publisher, is best known for a diverse publishing program—specialized in fine art, documentary, pop culture, fashion, and celebrity books. We have blazed a trail through the staid book publishing industry, releasing books that have sparked cultural trends and redefined commonly held perceptions of the purpose and role of art books in contemporary culture.
A special thank you to my good friend Bradley Crumb for the wonderful campaign video.
And finally, below is a FLIP BOOK preview of selected page spreads from the book Mile O' Mud. I had the pleasure of working with book designer Kiki Bauer and editor Bonnie Yochelson in making all the various elements come together. It was a lot of hard work, but I am absolutely thrilled with what we accomplished!
Thank you for your support in making this book a reality and completing my ten-year photographic project!
Risks and challenges
The key ingredients to create a beautiful, timeless book are already in place: a unique and award-winning photo project, a talented book designer and a highly esteemed publisher.
As this is an all or nothing platform there is no risk for you a backer, and the single major challenge that remains for us is raising enough money to complete the expensive process of sending the book to press. With your financial support, we will meet the campaign goal and aim to have the book published and delivered early Spring 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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