State of Combustion


In early 2019, over a two week period, a car a night was being set alight in the streets around where I live. Selection appeared to be indiscriminate; old, new, it didn’t seem to matter. Each new fire escalated communal anxieties, gossip and speculation.


The local news media fed into these tensions with daily front page articles about the fires. Photographs of burnt out cars and reports of victim impact became the daily normal. I waited nightly hoping my car would not be next.


In trying to process these events I chose to respond by making my own series of photographs. I wanted to create an imagined prelude to the newspaper images.

To make this happen I needed to interlope into the mind of the arsonist. The frustrated and adrenalin fuelled state of mind devoid of other avenues of release. I had to walk the same streets, over the remains of ash, alloys and melted plastic, experiencing the same compression of emotion and dark places. Moving in shadows, watching, but avoiding being watched, being that person with contempt for the boundaries of public and private, immersed in the power of destructive control.

Scott Fredericks

Copyright 2021