Jack Kenyon's prom photos take a closer look at East London car culture

London-based photographer Jack Kenyon turns his lens to the fascinating world of prom nights and luxury car rental in his latest series called Dripped Out For Prom.

Prom nights are a right of passage for school leavers all around the world, and as such, they come with their own pressures and expectations. What should you wear? Who should you ask along as your date? But more crucially for some, what car should you drive to the big night?

This last question is especially curious because most school leavers, especially in this country, are not old enough to have a driving license. In East London's Bengali communities, this has led to a rise of students hiring out luxury cars that make for good content when snapped and splashed across social media. However, the fact that a chaperone has driven them is usually left out.

For photographer Jack Kenyon, who has previously worked with the likes of Bupa, Dove and Lego, this gap between presentation and reality was too amusing to miss. "I've never seen or heard of a Prom celebration quite like it," he tells Creative Boom.

"Around England, it's fairly common to see leavers coming and going from prom in rented limousines, but renting individual bright green Lamborghinis and modded German whips is unique.

"I also liked how all the pupils are chauffeured because they're too young to drive, and after the event, they'd be driven to a shopping centre car park to hang out together. I thought that was both interesting and amusing, so I tried to document it."

He's not wrong, as the contrast between luxury sports cars and supermarket car parks creates a playful juxtaposition. While the teenagers in the pictures might be posing with a sense of pride, on closer inspection, it's possible to see the artifice behind these photos.

Yet despite being familiar with East London communities, finding the school leavers to photograph proved to be Jack's biggest challenge in making this series. "I didn't have direct contact with the pupils celebrating, only the business renting the cars to them," he explains.

Even after Imperial Xotic Motors, the business that supplies the supercars to such events, connected Jack with a group of leavers, he still had to essentially intercept them on their big night. "That made it a bit tricky to find out which shopping centre car park they were in and at what time. There was a lot of waiting around, but patience paid dividends."

But besides being solely a witty document of prom night, this series also speaks to something broader in the city. "Supercars are a part of how some Bengali communities celebrate life events in the borough," says Jack.

"You can find luxury cars being used similarly at weddings and Eid. That's how I first came across the idea: driving through the borough and being caught in a traffic jam of Ferraris & Lamborghini's outside a Mosque."

And if there's one image that sums up the spirit of the series, Jack singles out the picture of two boys standing in front of their rented green Lamborghini with the shadow of a crowd spread at their feet. "I like their outfits and youthful confidence, the crowd of onlookers that you can tell are behind the camera, and the juxtaposition of the luxury car with the four-hour parking permit sign."

The full Dripped Out For Prom series can be seen on Jack's website at jackkenyon.xyz.


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