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Photographer’s Pass – Who Needs One?

Photographer’s Pass – Who Needs One?


These photographs were taken from public admission areas, nevertheless they have all been deemed worthy for publication in international motor racing magazines and photo books. They are analogue, taken on Kodak film and printed by myself using my own basic darkroom equipment with no digital enhancement. What was captured on the negative is what you see.

The photograph of Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari on his victory lap at Monaco 1981 was taken from the harbourside grandstand from where I had watched the race. I used a wide angle lens so as to include the approaching car, the cheering crowd and the packed balconies of Monaco’s apartment blocks in the background.

This image was one of several of mine used as a full-page spread in the recently published book by Károly Méhes, ‘Gilles Villeneuve, His Untold Story From Berthierville to Zolder’.

The image of a Renault and McLaren driving into a setting sun is a combination of two images. The rear view of the cars was taken from Farm Curve at the 1985 British Grand Prix, the ‘Daily Express’ bridge identifying the circuit as Silverstone. The sunset was taken in my home village in Devon and a yellow filter was used in both shots. They were combined in the darkroom by exposing the two negatives individually on the one sheet of paper, blanking off the top and bottom halves respectively with a sheet of cardboard. A little ‘dodging’ was applied to blend the join. The cars are heading north towards the Woodcote chicane so in reality the sun could never be in that position.

This image was used uncaptioned on the title page of the large format photo book ‘Grand Prix Moods’. It was cropped to half height showing only the lower half of the sun which worked well.

For the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in October 1985 I wanted an atmospheric image to show the photogenic character of the circuit in autumn sunlight. The photo was taken at Hawthorn Bend shot into the sun using a wide angle lens with two filters. A diffuser was used to soften the image and add shimmer to the car and a graduated grey filter was used to accentuate the clouds. The passing car is Philippe Alliot’s RAM-Hart although any would have done as long it was not not brightly coloured red or yellow.

This photograph was also published in the above book as well as ‘Prix Editions,’ a dedicated F1 magazine at that time. A few years later it won me the new Canon EOS 700 35mm SLR camera in a competition.

The final shot is Mark Blundell’s Brabham during Friday morning pre-qualifying at the first Grand Prix to be held at the new Montmelo circuit in September 1991. The sun was just rising over the distant hills so parts of the track were still in total shadow and others bathed in bright early morning sunshine. This photograph was taken against the light looking across from the infield general admission bank to Turn 1. The extreme contrast in light gives the image a monochrome appearance. No filters were used. With Barcelona now established as a winter testing venue such shots are common but this was probably the first and is a real car unblemished by aerials and sensors at a real Grand Prix.

This was another image published in ‘Grand Prix Moods’.