“And when a car falls on your head?”

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“Well of Death” – the wall of death is called – is one of the most exciting motor shows in the world. Photographer Ken Hermann accompanied with his camera the driver, the risk to the public your life.


Ken Hermann

By Ines Hielscher

Jenny Jacoby

Ines Hielscher

Born in 1985, born and raised in southern Germany. Studied cultural Sciences with a focus on art and media in Hildesheim. Since 2013 research assistant at NDR Info, since June of 2017, author of the picture editors at SPIEGEL ONLINE.

More articles by Ines Hielscher

Sunday, 21.10.2018
At 07:49

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Brave or reckless? Up to 100 kilometers per hour Indians along rattling with motorcycles and cars, a nearly vertical, cylindrical wall, and defy the force of gravity. The Indian wall, the “Well of Death”, what can you translate the best source of death, belongs to steep to the most exciting and at the same time most dangerous motor shows in the world.

The photographer Ken Hermann has in common with the film’s Director Gem Fletcher accompanied a group of eight riders for a week on a-year market in Solapur, in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra. They wanted to capture the energy of the spectacle, the driver and your personality photographically.

There are ordinary people who risk their lives daily: Seven of the drivers are men, Radha is the only woman. You with drives already for the past 20 years, at the time, she had to convince the boss to accept them. Today, he earns even better with her because she attracts more of an audience.

At the Shows the driver climbing out of the window

The drivers come from different States of the country and had never met before. Now you have to travel several months out of the year jointly by India and occur on a variety of markets. They live almost like a family, support each other and sleep at night in tents in the vicinity of the steep wall. Someone New comes in, they teach him their Tricks.

At the Shows, the riders start on the floor of the Arena, riding on a slightly sloping ramp until you have enough speed. With about 100 km/h you car on the upper edge of the vertical wall and perform daring Stunts: are you climbing out the window, laying on the roof of your car, between the two vehicles, the hands; you sit astride your motorcycle, or ride hands free.

Photo gallery

Dangerous Thrill:
Indian Cliffs

The construction of the wall takes about a week In each new location and the employee to dig again a hole in the floor and install wooden planks of the Arena. The resulting cylinder has a diameter of ten to twelve meters, the walls are eight meters high. The Show belongs to the year markets are usually the most popular: Many Locals of all ages are attracted to different stages, the riders are regarded as heroes. Around 50 cents to pay the visitors converted per event.

In other countries there are similar attractions

Most of the photos were taken in the middle of the Arena, while several vehicles on the steep wall to photographer Ken Hermann circled. The engines were humming, and an overwhelming smell of gasoline was in the air – a challenge for Hermann to shoot in this Situation. “I was already a bit paranoid, could not shake off the thought: And if a car falls on your head?”

In other countries there are similar attractions: “The main difference is that security in India plays no role,” says the photographer. The driver, wearing neither helmets nor other protective clothing, and avoid any safety precautions. “The risk is exceptionally high.” Serious accidents are rather rare. One thing Hermann regretted, however, still to this day – when he was asked if he wanted to ride in one of the cars, he said no.

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