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Highways to heaven and hell

Highways to heaven and hell

Car accidents have claimed many a celebrity victim, from James Dean and Marc Bolan to Princess Diana. Photographer Dean Rogers is interested by what is left behind — no, not the messy clear-up — but the way the crash site resonates with our memories of the person who died there, as his new exhibition, opening at The Wapping Project this weekend, reveals.

Rogers revisited nine famous sites on the exact time-and-date anniversary of the fatal accidents that happened there, including the eerily lit stretch of highway in Springs, New York, on which Jackson Pollock drunk-drove to his death in 1956 (above) and the Monte Carlo cliff-top from which Grace Kelly and a British Rover 3500 plunged in 1982 (below).

gracekelly_sep_14th_1982

The striking pictures he came back with are being exhibited as Death Drive, alongside text by playwright Deborah Levy and a score by composer Billy Cowie. But there's an important twist: rather than shooting from the curb or lay-by, he chose to give a driver's-eye perspective, cunningly turning the viewer from voyeur into victim. All in all they make for interesting and unsettling viewing.

Death Drive is on from 4 October to 1 November at The Wapping Project, London E1W, www.thewappingproject.com