The only thing worse than a fender bender is shelling out the dough to repair the damage. Ronni Campana’s series Fixed Badly is a glorious ode to those who would rather do the job themselves instead of paying a professional.
Campana got the idea while returning home from work one day. He spotted a vintage car with a colorful plastic bag instead of a rear window. It wasn’t long before he was noticing shoddy repairs everywhere, from battered old hoopties to high-end classics. Old or new, cheap or expensive; ghastly DIY repairs are a great equalizer. “I found this quite fascinating,” he says. “How could a sharp looking Rolls Royce could be fixed with some cheap duct tape in the same way that an old rusty van would?”
Over the winter and spring, the British photographer took leisurely strolls around East London with his Canon 550D and a remote trigger Speedlite. He kept an eye out for vehicles with “compelling details combined with lovely shades of color.” Once he found an appealing car, he’d spend a good 10 minutes taking tight detail shots of the repairs; he prefers close-ups, which makes some of the repairs look oddly stylish, even cool. He used a flash to make the paint pop and emphasize the contrast with whatever haphazard repair the owner had made using whatever was available. Corrugated cardboard, vinyl tarps, and plastic bags are common materials, but of course duct tape is the star. That do-it-all wonder is used to fix everything from sagging bumpers to broken mirrors.
As you might expect, not everyone was jazzed to see Campana photographing their ride. Many people mistook him for a thief, while others made him delete the photos. Sometimes he didn’t even squeeze off a shot before he was told to take a hike. “Some reacted very well, some others couldn’t care less, and some were just really mean to me,” he says.
And then there was the elderly fellow Campana met while photographing the bloke’s 1971 Alfa Romeo Spider. He invited Campana to check out his vintage car collection, which included gems like a 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta and an old Aston Martin. “We had a good chat about his love for valuable cars and about his life,” Campana says. “He was a proper East-end geezer.”
Campana drives a second hand ’99 Ford Ka. Although it’s in good shape, it’s only a matter of time before something breaks. And when that happens, the photographer says he’s got plenty of inspiration for clever repairs.Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.