Todd Midler captures the enthusiasm and unexpected beauty of car racing

“Let me preface this by saying, I am not a car person,” Todd admits to It’s Nice That, as we begin to discuss Raceway. “I enjoy how they look and the idea or function of a car, but my infatuation ends there.” Being relatively new to the practice (a bit like us, apart from Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive, of course), deciding to build a series around the subject has allowed Todd to create a body of work offering a beginners eye to car racing. For instance, where we might usually see high-flashes of drama, Todd offers a calmer point of view. Amongst speeding clouds of smoke that linger in his frame are the finer details – the covering of a tyre, still life’s of maintenance works, and individuals dressed in the jeans and t-shirts working behind the scenes.
The practice of photography has long been a way to gain understanding into new worlds. Whether it’s a particular part of the globe or a niche practice, the viewpoint of a photographer allows us a look-in – and often through the snapshot of just one image. In the world of niche hobbies and practices in particular is Raceway, a series by Los Angeles-based photographer Todd Midler. Offering viewers a way into the practice of car racing, Todd’s soft lighting and considerate approach not only shares the thrill of the sport but the character behind it too.
What led Todd to spend time in an area completely new to him was a chance look through the New York Public Library’s photography archive, where he “stumbled upon old photos of race cars, and drag racers with their cars”. Inspired, but keen to develop his own approach for a subject “heavily photographed for documentation or commercial purposes,” Todd headed in to the project armed with a goal of doing things differently, adding how it “presents a fun artistic challenge, I think.”

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