Fotomonday: Killarney – by Retha Ferguson

With “Fotomonday“, each week we showcase the work of women photographers from around the world.




Killarney is a Cape Town racecourse where speed, sound, fumes and masculinity intersect on weekends, in a cascade of sensory overload. This work digs into the affective relations formed between masculinity and the racecourse, considering how sentiment and emotions are mediated through the automobile.

The work is inspired by a passage by Geoff Dyer in Anglo-English Attitudes:

“Cars, for the Cornetts, are to be repaired, plundered for spares, patched up. To be gathered round, examined, discussed. The car is a mechanical agora or forum: a meeting place to exchange bare-chested opinions about carburettors or brake linings. Familiarity with such parts is expressed by kicking them; knowledge of engines by letting cigarette ash drop into the combustible tangle of tubes and sparks.

[…] For the Cornett children an automobile engine is a mystery to be initiated into. A man holds his baby up for a first peer into the engine, a baptism of oil at the altar of mechanics. A teenage boy genuflects beneath a jacked-up wheel worshipping. As a car sinks into utter uselessness it becomes a part of the landscape, a relic. A truck looks as site-specific as the stoop of a house. Its tires are like wooden poles sunk into the ground. A boy lies under the hood of a car, reaching up an arm as if pulling a shiny car-patterned eiderdown over himself. Someone else leans on the hood like he’s ordering drinks at a bar. “





Retha Ferguson is a Cape Town based photographer practicing through the medium of documentary photography since 2009. Her work has been exhibited in South Africa, Lesotho, Georgia, Germany, France and USA. 

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All images and text © Retha Ferguson