Good Sport

Drifting In Paradise

By Ollie Trenchard

Ollie Trenchard's photographic work has warmth and calmness to it. Each portrait, the person in the image, feels like you are right there with them. With direct eye contact that feels welcoming, confident, and relaxed. Ollie's previous time as a tailor may be the reason for the added high level of detail in his work as well. As mixed Bajan and British background, Ollie allows his culture and heritage to help inform his personal work, which centres on black culture, music and travel.

Which brings us to Ollie's latest, a new book and film titled 'Drifting in Paradise'. The work spends time around the street car scene in Barbados.

Most cities and countries around the world have their own version of a car scene. Drifting in the mountains of Japan. Johannesburg's spinning culture. BoyRacers in the UK. And suburban-parking-lot-meet-ups in every other city.

Flying over the Caribbean into Barbados, a place Ollie grew up going to. Beyond the powdery white sand beaches and turquoise waters, he has lasting memories of being taken to see the rallies of the local underground car scene. The proximity and intense sounds lingered with him long enough to turn his camera to it all and showcase the scene on the island. Drifting in Paradise is the type of work that prompts the viewer to ponder to themselves about the where and the why. Spending time in the work can feel like a dream and a memory at the same time.

Published by Pallo Books, Drifting in Paradise is available now.

Good Sport spoke with Ollie about making the work and the book.

GS: What prompted you to set out and create this body of work?

OT: My cousin took me as a child to see a rally on the island. The memory remained with me for years because of the proximity of the cars and the enhanced sensation that comes with that. I was always into cars and seeing this only reinforced it.

I later visited Barbados and stayed on the hill in Wanstead Terrace, St. James. From here, I could hear the cars racing along the highways nearby in the evenings. These memories have stuck with me and since taking up photography 6 years ago, I've known I wanted to document certain scenes, this being one of them.

GS: You mention being introduced to rally as a child. Can you tell us a story or an early memory of this introduction or this time?

OT: I was about 9. I remember we were sitting on a corner in the middle of the countryside, and every few minutes another driver would pass by in a blur, causing everyone in the vicinity to cheer loudly. It was an incredibly unique experience.

My dad has always been into motor sport and got me into watching F1 and super bikes pretty early. We had stacks of car magazine issues organized in folders that I'd refer to frequently. He has also always ridden motorbikes, so the love of speed has been passed down for sure.

GS: What is your relationship with cars like now?

OT: I don't own a car in London as it's really not necessary, but I frequently hire cars and drive when I'm abroad. I keep up with F1 and watch some other disciplines as well.

I've been thoroughly enjoying driving in Finland, where my partner is from. Just before their family summer house, there is a specific 5-mile stretch of road that resembles a rally stage. It's really fun to drive it both in summer when it's dusty and in winter in the snow.

I love the act of driving, especially in a manual car. If I ever drive in London, I prefer to do it late at night. At any other time, it's just full of traffic...

GS: And cars of choice for you: One for drifting and one for a nice road trip somewhere, and a city car to get around in.

Great question! I can't pretend to be a drifter myself, but from what I saw and experienced, I'd go with a Japanese car like the Nissan 350Z as a beginner. It's not crazy powerful, but looked so much fun. For my road trip, it would be a Porsche 911 all day long. This is my dream car and would be perfect to eat up the miles in both comfort and style whilst having fun. I reckon this would be the best car to drive through a continent with a co driver. City car I'd go electric and have something quirky like the BMW i3. Super easy to park everywhere and has decent acceleration for when or if you ever have the chance to put your foot down!

 GS:  What is a lasting memory or moment you'll hold on to from your time making this work?

Myself and Ricky (my DOP) spent one Sunday with a group of drifters in the parish of St. Andrew in the northeast of Barbados. The location was a former school car park. The energy was so infectious and you could tell everyone loved having the cameras there.

That evening, we drove to St. George, in the centre of the island, and Knuckles (the man hanging off the car while it's moving!) treated us to the most incredible display at another disused car park in the evening. The drive there held a remarkable quality as we all followed each other in convoy along the dark country roads. The whole day had a really good feel to it...

One other would be when Natya Soodeen gave me the chance to drive her racing BMW 3 series at the Vaucluse Race track. I attempted to do some donuts. I was terrible, but it was a lot of fun! Having such amazing access to so many talented drivers was a real highlight and something I'm truly grateful for.

GS:What do you hope people see in the work?

I hope that people see the talent and passion in Barbados when it comes to engineering and racing. The fact that every car featured had been at least tweaked and most likely fully built by its owner is really impressive. It was incredible visiting some domestic garages that were literally overflowing with nearly completed projects and spare parts.

I also hope one can get a feel for the care I put into building relationships with everyone featured. Whether I spent a few hours or had the chance of multiple meet ups, I really wanted to extract the passion everyone had for their cars.

GS: Can you tell us about the book, what decisions did you make around the size, paper and design?

The design of the book took a while, going through many iterations. I initially wanted to go slighter larger than the final a4 size. However, printer limitations and budget came into play when making this decision.In terms of paper, I really wanted it to both feel premium and have a rougher texture that portrayed the homemade feel of the cars. I landed upon a really nice uncoated paper stock from GF Smith. It's quite heavy and feels really tactile as you turn each page. I also decided to have coloured paper stocks for the black and white sections of photos within the book. Something to uplift these images in a subtle way.

By keeping the design simple, the images are able to speak for themselves. Lots of full bleed intermixed with white borders. I'm really happy with the finished product. It has a nice feel in the hand and the cover design sparks interest.

GS: And lastly, what does left-field mean to you?

Left-field for me means being yourself. As a result of believing in your own intuitions, passions and eye you can't help but produce something unique.

Check out more of Ollie’s work here.