Historic motor racing photography

May 2016 – In the early Zeroes only a handful professionals aimed their cameras at classic cars. Simply because the market wasn’t interesting enough (as in big enough to make money) and only a handful proffesionals and hobbyists did the job. There weren’t too many reasons to sent out photographers to cover events such as Classic Le Mans, the Goodwood Revival or the Spa Six Hours. If they were even covered at all!  

Aston Martin DB4 GT – Joe Twyman – Roger Wills 1965 Bizzarrini 5300 GT

Back in the analogue days paper magazines published the obvious podium shots and maybe a crash or some pitlane action. Analog aces like Jeff Bloxham paved the way for the 1st generation of digital photographers to fill their memory-cards and display their work on Flickr, Photobucket and Youtube. I did the same thing back in 2006. Online platforms and magazines started asking me for pictures but did not like to pay. How times have changed.

Simon Hadfield & Johnny Tipler – Chris Harris in a Jeremy Welch built Jaguar Low Drag E-type – David Grace

Somewhere in 2004 I started to write short stories and reviews about the classic cars I adored in my youth, back in the 70s and 80s. I posted write ups at the Pistonheads Motoring Forums and I met owners of a Triumph TR6, Lotus Europa, Lamborghini Espada and Countach. My trusty analog Pentax was no good to provide for the pictures to accompany my contributions. My then-employer sent me out to buy a D70, Nikon’s first consumer level digital SLR camera, and offered to use the camera for private purposes.

Marc Devis, Maserati 200S – Leo Voyazides

At the time being a TR4 navigator in a Classic Car Rally or making a repo for online magazine Klassiekerrally Winterswijk could not make me more happy. Until I got fed up with the blue grayish hue of the Nikon images and decided to buy my own DSLR. It had to be tough (no plastic body) and compact and I wanted the images to have a warm and analog-ish quality. In spring 2006 I choose the Olympus E300. It proved to be a flawless piece of kit.

Graf von Oeynhausen – WDK Motorsport – Andrew Smith

At the time Pistonheads was one of the few automotive platforms and a fertile ground for car photography. I was lucky to be one of the youngsters that caught the attention of the community. An upcoming Dutch automotive online forum particularly liked my public blogging. With the owner / publisher I discussed the possibilities to make videos for his Autoblog.nl.

Lola T290 – Jaguar Broadspeed XJ12

And then I discovered the Spa 6 Hours meeting. Actually I was invited by a racing team. The ‘Spa6‘ is the classic car racing season closer and a sure ‘Petrolhead Nirvana’ – as car journo Johnny Tipler calls it. It’s ‘the place to be’ for every petrolhead with a slight interest in classic car racing. The repo I did for Autoblog never got published (so much for video editing) but the reference ‘That Guy On The Wall’ was born. The La Source hairpin was my spot to pan the flashing-by racing action. A lot of the teams liked my pictures and asked me for the big files. Since 2006 I snapped 1000s of racing cars rounding La Source.

Blurb photobooks

More than one or two racers have a poster of ‘their car at La Source‘ in their garage, workshop or office. I started to publish photobooks via the Blurb platform. Every now and then (international) magazines asked me to supply pictures for their articles. The racing drivers found me on the TenTenths Motoring Forum. Both Lola and Chevron Heritage published photography on their online scrapbook sections.

Chevron01
Chevron Heritage

It proved to be rather difficult to get pictures published in magazines. Ten to fifteen years ago there was no money for additional digital publication next to the paper magazines because the extent of the new audience was unknown. And no one seemed keen in investing into unexplored territory. Only a few die hard and persistent professionals worked their ways to publication, wheter it be photography or text. And in the best case: both.

Bryant
Oliver Bryant Racing

Photography was my much loved hobby since I had a job (self-employed marketer) and I was in no need to add another specialism. So I kept on writing about cars and snapped the odd classic vehicle as a hobby. Until the amount of publication on the Pistonheads motoring forums grew to substantial proportions and I decided to duplicate ‘picture and caption’ on Facebook social media. With the result that the professionals in the Automotive Industry found me.

LolaT292 – Lola Heritage scrapbook

In 2010 producer and director Alexander Davidis asked me to still photograph his GT Racer film project ‘The Algarve Special’, I worked with online platform Classic Car Monthly to film a Spa Six Hours meeting. I also supplied single images to a variety of magazines and books. Still I served my photography as a side order. Within time text became more and more important and since 2012 my main propositon is commercial writing (and market research) for B2B entrepreneurs, SME and corporates.

Alexander Davidis website – GT Racer ‘Algarve Special’

But the photography itch did not go. For the Dutch classic car collection ‘Daccars’ I wrote webpages to sell their classic cars.

To wrap up I invite you to have a look at the suggested links hidden in this text and explore the pictures in my many blogs. There are truckloads out there on the internet (check here). If you are looking for a picture of your favorite car, just ask and I will browse my archives.

WDK Motorsport – Filming GT Racer ‘Algarve Special’ – Racing driver and team captain Roger Wills

Final words

To cover an event is quite a job. Post production of a days harvest – 500 to 1000 RAW format images – is another full day or more behind the iMac. Ask for a quotation as it depends where the event is located (my HQ is in Utrecht, NL). The Spa Six Hours is my annual event. Simply assign and instruct me and I will deliver you pictures in formats up to 3600px, ready for online and offline publications. There are no restrictions in use other than a proper credit: ©AlbertMensingCreative.nl

Tom Falconer – Jon Minshaw – Maserati Birdcage
Contact details

Email / +31 (0)6 1308 01313

Joe Twyman – Lola T70 Mk3B – Oliver Bryant