Before moving to London and pursuing a career as a model, Chiara Mottironi (aka @yayasleeps) grew up in Norwich, a small town in the British South East not too far from the coast.
In “Chin Down, Go In Smiling”, her first photographic series and experiment with an analog camera, Chiara decided to document the reality of banger racing, a bizarre extreme sport found in her native region.
As explained by her, banger racing is quite hard to frame and describe.
Imagine bumper cars but in an open-air grass pit surrounded by people of all ages and real size crashed vehicles. Intriguing right?
“It’s organized chaos filled with the most wonderful people I’ve ever met,” she says.
Getting acquainted with the scene and deciding to make the interaction between the gatherings and the subsequent competitions her subject matter occurred randomly as a consequence of a friend’s suggestion.
Here, she found the inspiration needed to start playing with her 35mm camera and challenge herself to impress these convivial moments in time.
It is not random that Great Yarmouth became the canvas of her first visual series. The town often served as her testing grounds throughout her youth. Her first dates, first heartbreaks, first time attending a funeral, first street races all happened there.
Yaya’s love for Great Yarmouth, the banger racing community, and the jumbled yet cozy atmosphere built by the shared passion for the unique sport instinctively translate into her images.
The warmth and saturation of her photography exude familiarity with the place and a natural sense of connection to the surroundings.