Behind the Image #5 – Abstract Car Photography

Motorsports photography was really one of the first kinds of imagemaking that I found myself enjoying. I started going to Silverstone in my early twenties and have been watching sports car racing and F1 ever since.

I don’t know much about cars, but I know what I like. And alongside my love for the sleek racing cars that grace the very top championships, I also adore a good boxy-looking car. My favourites are Ford Escort’s and Sierra’s from the 80s and early 90s (and I still mourn for my Ford Escort Convertible that I stupidly crashed and wrote off a few years ago).

This image was shot at the Banbury Checkpoint for the Le Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, an incredible historic rally that is organised by the Automobile Club of Monte Carlo. It is a joy to see so many beautiful, loved, and often famous cars in full working order making the thousand mile journey to Monaco, and then doing the same back again!

It’s hard to take a good image at events like this. You’re competing with both enthusiasts and other photographers for time with the cars, and Banbury town centre isn’t exactly the most photogenic backdrop! Pictures of the whole cars are ruled out for me on the whole, because I don’t find that busy composition very pleasing.

Instead I concentrated on the details, aiming to show the slick design details that make these cars utterly magical. Cars and their design can tell us lots about our desires and dreams as a society and so picking out smaller elements and focussing in on them can be a provocative way of presenting what was important at the time the car was conceived.

If I was going to shoot the yellow wing mirror image again I’d have gone slightly lower in order to bring the chrome trim on the wing mirror away from the chrome trim on the car that currently intersects it in the background. I’m pleased with the reflection being “neutral” with no people in it though, and I just love the colour! I’d also have spent more time with that particular car, and next time might challenge myself to shoot three absolutely banging images of each interesting car. That way they could be displayed together as a collection. (Next time I’ll also make a note of what car and model I photographed, and perhaps even a way to contact the owners…)

This is certainly one that I’m going to get printed up and framed for my gallery wall in my studio. And if anyone knows a car that might have a spot for me next year to go along for the drive and photograph – I’m all ears. 😉