Derby, Fully Loaded

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Published August 17, 2011

In Scandinavia, they don’t make cars from cobbled-together junk, then get the family together to  race (and crash) the delicate, ornately decorated machines at a state fair. So photographer Robert Johansson didn’t know what to expect when he attended his first demolition derby in Cobleskill, New York, a mere two Fridays ago: “I grew up in Sweden, and I have never crossed a sport event like this one before,” he told Interview. But he got into the swing of things, snapping dozens of shots of dramatic crashes in action, destroyed automobiles, and the all-American spectators who turned out to view the destruction firsthand. “The sound, the smell, the crowd, the cars running on their last fumes—all of it gave me full appreciation for the sport,” Johansson said. Take that, Nordic nations.