Arts & Culture: Michael Corridore – Angry Black Snake

Michael Corridore is an Australian photographer who’s series Angry Black Snake has been doing the rounds at exhibitions and in photography magazines for a while now. We wanted to post this interview we did with him ages ago as the images are so haunting and misleading. Their lack of context leaves the viewer wondering what type of post-apocalyptic scene they portray. In actuality they are taken at car festivals but the moments that are captured in the flurries of smoke show a hint of excitement and emotion that really make these shots outstanding.

OD: What is Angry Black Snake and how did you take the photos?

Angry Black Snake is a series that I started about seven years ago now, gee long time. They are photographs taken at car festivals during burnout events, the smoke is generated by drivers and cars trying to blow out their tyres. The smoke blows away quickly, particularly on windy days, so the opportunity to get the shots is slim. I usually only get a handful of pictures each time I go.

OD: They are fairly ambiguous in meaning… some seem really apocalyptic, some are more relaxed. What do you think are the running themes of the photos?

The photographs don’t give much away, it’s difficult to see what is going on or the context in which the events are unfolding. As a viewer, you do have to fill the gaps. Some of the scenes appear apocalyptic, some are deceptive as the people seem quite relaxed in what appears to be a chaotic setting. The smoke censors the real story and the reality becomes fictional. The title comes from a live commentators expression, ‘Angry Black Snake’, which is the point when a burnout competitors engine overheats or blows the radiator hose up through the smoke. So it looks like an angry black snake spitting and hissing through the air.

OD: You are based between Sydney and New York I gather, how do the two cities inspire you in different ways?

Yes, two very different cities. So much choice in NY, can be too much choice sometimes. I enjoy the access to artworks in NY the most and of course friends there. I’ve had to give up living in NY recently though, which is not a bad thing as I’m being more productive in Sydney to be honest. I’m about to start some new photographic work and I have started painting again, which is incredibly enjoyable. I have been immersed in photography for so long now and my enjoyment and interest in photography just grows and grows. Painting is an outlet, my Yoga so to speak, it’s makes me stop and look at things and it’s really helping my photography. Sydney is just a great place to be, the Art world here is fertile, easy place to live and we are spoilt by naturally beautiful bushlands, waterways and beaches that surround the city.

OD: What do you love about photography?

It’s limitless, like a blank canvas. It can take you on many journeys.

OD: What is next for you?

First thing’s a cup of coffee. After that I’m setting up a small (I mean tiny) studio in my home to work on my next photographic project and also working on a few paintings. Working with oils is great as I seem to be able to go back and back to add and change. A bit like photoshop really.


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