If, like me, you love cars especially classic cars, you will have probably got frustrated trying to photograph them at car shows. They aren’t always parked in the best place, you have little control over the lighting, and there always seems to be other people in the way!
Here’s an example. It’s a very nice Pininfarina spidereuropa 2000i (mine!) at last’s year’s Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival. It was taken in a brief moment when there was no-one walking past or looking at it. The Festival is held on the street in the old part of Bristol, so there are often distracting buildings in the background, as can be seen here. In case you were wondering, the roads and the bank were closed, so I wasn’t parked illegally!
Under these circumstances, instead of trying to get the whole car, it’s better to capture the details that are often missed. These little details, such as badges, are often works of art in themselves. Getting in close allows you to hide (or creatively use) the background, lose people, and control the light a bit more.
This is the badge of a fabulous Lamborghini Espada in classic Italian red. The Espada was Lamborghini’s 4-seat supercar, and was made between 1968 and 1978. The badge shows the bull that they adopted as their symbol. Some say it’s a dig at Ferrari, whose badge symbol is a prancing horse, because bulls are more powerful than horses! The badge and strake on the bonnet are like an arrow pointing forwards.
As well as the badge of a car’s manufacturer, you may also find the badge of the coachbuilder. Coachbuilders are the people who build bodies for cars/coaches/lorries etc. This is a Vignale badge on a very rare Triumph Italia 2000. The car was designed by Michelotti, and built in Turin by Vignale on Triumph TR3 running gear. The badge is a lovely piece of enamelling featuring the Mole Antoelliana, a famous Turin landmark, and the “V” shape reflects the shape of the Turin coat of arms.
The badge denoting the car model is another beautiful bit of design and engineering. It’s delightful how the stroke of the “t” lines up with the “2” of 2000, and how the zeros get smaller towards the right. This level of detailing helps make the car look as if it’s moving even when it’s standing still. The reflected building in this image gives a good curved zigzag line which adds to the sense of movement.
This badge denotes the method that’s been used to construct the car’s body. “Superleggera” means “Super lightweight”, and is a system of steel tubes covered with aluminium panels to give the final shape of the car. The system was developed by the coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring in Milan. Their own badge is also in the shot. This image of the badge and panel gap really benefitted from a diagonal composition. I was careful to ensure that the reflection in the background didn’t break the line of the Touring badge.
This final badge is on the back of a supercar. It’s only when you look closely at the badges that you see the tiny little features that the designer has put in. On the bottom left of each letter there’s a small stroke off to the left that gives the impression of speed; it’s a very clever bit of iconography. Any ideas as to what car it’s on? Obviously it’s Italian, as it was at an Italian car show.
You don’t need a DSLR to be a creative photographer. All of these images were taken with a Panasonic Lumix FX-500 compact digital camera set on wide-angle and macro. It’s all down to the photographer.