In 2010 I had an idea, based on two certainties. Mad Max Fury Road pre-production was coming to an end and once shooting began many of the vehicles created for the film, would be on borrowed time.
I’d been a 2nd AC on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and saw first hand the fate suffered by the majority of Aunty Entity’s Armada as they chased down the train stolen from Bartertown by Max, Pig Killer and the kids.
Thirty years on, and chances were there would be many more vehicles and much, much, more carnage. I contacted Associate Producer and 1st AD P.J. Voeten with the idea to shoot as many of the Mad Max Fury Road vehicles as possible before being shipped to set and their eventual fate.
PJ saw merit in the suggestion and took it to Director George Miller and Producer Doug Mitchell. I received a phone call inviting me to the production office. I met with both George and Doug and was then ushered into
a room by a production assistant and handed the script to read. We were going ahead with the plan.
I wanted to photograph the vehicles in their pristine state. Straight off the assembly line, similar to any other brand new model car, bike or truck.
The difference was, each of these vehicles was unique. More than that, each of them was a work of art.
The Mad Max franchise is an integral part of Australia’s movie-making history and the vehicles, starting with Max’s Interceptor were characters themselves. It would have been a terrible oversight, not to document them. The time and effort invested in their journey from concept to creation needed to be recognised.
I put together a team starting with Gaffer, Richard Mason from TRC Lighting. We discussed the concept and lighting style of the shoot, the schedule and manpower required. Richard bought in electrics Chris Follett, Beau Moulson and Gaffer Paul Johnson.
1st AD Scott Lovelock joined us along with members of the Art Department who added the final touches to the vehicles and their unique armoury.
The following images are a testament to the design mastery of the Art Department matched by the engineering skills of the mechanics charged with bringing them to reality.
I think the results speak for themselves 75 vehicles shot over three weeks in a purpose-built studio. Highlighting both their individuality as singular concepts and commonality, as members of the various tribes depicted throughout the film.
Wide shots combined with closer details prove their status as works of art. Works of art shot before the dirt before they faced their fate on the dusty plains of Nambia.