Archives for the month of: January, 2011

It is Wednesday night and I am trying to recover from laughter-inflicted stomach cramps courtesy of Tosh.O.

When I started my blog last week, I never thought I’d have hundreds of hits after only a few days.  Hence, I am wondering which stories I can actually spread over the internet.  So please be advised that I might change the odd name in order to protect the life of my family, shown here at a typical dinner.

Nobody can stop the Thunder

 

 

 

 

 

The hungry little buggar – according to my mother, eating had always been my favourite pastime too – is my son.  His mum, my wife, has a slight obsession with Thanksgiving dinners and is making an obvious attempt to pass it on to the offspring.  Probably because Papa has made sure the automotive gene was injected at an early age.  From the moment little Thunder – yes, there is a reason for this, his middle name – was born, I have tried to make his first word Lamborghini.  He could say it before he was 3 months old.  That, anyway, is my interpretation of those mumbling sounds coming from his mouth.

On my 12th birthday, I told my parents that I  had made plans for the next 30 years of my life.  “Really?”, they asked, “So what exactly are you going to do?”.  “Finish school, find a job paying about $1,200 a month, buy a tent and live in it until I’m 42, eating nothing but oatmeal with milk and sugar.  Then buy a Lamborghini Countach, a small piece of land and a double garage for the car and my bed.”  I was always good at maths, so my plan made perfect sense.

***

 

 

 

I still have 4 years.


Having wished my whole life that my father had kept just one of his cars from the 60’s or 70’s, I now have the chance to do just that for my boy .

 

 

 

 

A ’99 8-Series I bought a couple of years ago is sitting in storage in Germany – much to my parents’ disapproval.  “Are you going to pay for the next 2 decades for something you don’t even know your son will be interested in?”. Well, yes. Maybe because I didn’t really get to drive it myself as I decided to move from London/England to Venice Beach/California within weeks of having it brought back to its former glory.  Not to mention that my best friend Al got it up to 170 mph – while yours truly was asleep in the passenger seat.

In Belgium.

You guessed it, they DO NOT have the Autobahn.  They DO have a speed limit.

Easily forgotten when you are driving something just asking to be pushed to the limit.  Which is what my friend Hoehnes must have thought back in ’91 when I told him he could not scare me.  Five minutes later I was transformed into a human backpack hanging on for dear life on the back of his Fireblade.  Forced to brake the bike down from way over twice the allowed speed on a narrow country road in Northern Germany, he was balancing the Honda skilfully on its front wheel.  All because of some dozy driver’s attempt to overtake another car coming towards us.

My friend had only just recovered from 3 months in hospital after a nasty motorcycle crash.  Surprised? Neither was I…

tbc

***(I took this picture in front of the GEORGE V hotel in Paris shortly after breaking my neck in an unsuccessful attempt to somersault backwards off of my grandmother’s couch – stupid, brass-rimmed table)

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So here it is – thanks to my agent Jennifur: my first ever post on my very own blog. I never thought the name I picked could possibly still be available. Which encouraged me enough to actually give this a try.

 

I am a photographer, that much is true. Do I consider myself an automotive photographer?

Not just.

Despite having shot pretty much every car brand on the planet, from a Kia (back in the 90’s when they were made from paper maché and looked like a 2-year old had designed them) to a McLaren F1 (racing around the Goodwood track in the South of England with designer and creator of this amazing 3-seater Gordon  Murray behind the wheel) I am simply too interested in also shooting a million other things.

So after working and travelling (I hope the Americans among you won’t be too annoyed by my British spelling) around the globe with my boss and car photography genius Chris Bailey, I decided to leave the security of being a full-time employee and started my quest for the perfect picture…

***

 

 

Which all goes back to the early Seventies, sitting on the backseat of my dad’s old Mercedes 280SE 3.5, white with blue leather. My mum had cried bitterly when he came home one night in what was considered to be the biggest gas guzzler in the whole village.

Dad had simply bought it on his way back from work. The fact that he was in his early twenties, his wife a primary school teacher – yes, unfortunately for me, I went to that very school which was only 50 yards up the street – and in the midst of the oil crisis. “What are the neighbours going to think”, she uttered, clearly embarrassed by my father’s spontaneity.

Even though I could not even pronounce the word Mercedes at my tender age of 2, I made up for my mother’s disappointment with an extra portion of enthusiasm.

Clinging on to one of the headrests in the back whilst my father was flying down the Autobahn at 140 mph I stared at the cars we shot past. The real excitement came – though very rarely – when we were actually passed by a faster car. Like a white Ferrari 308 GTSi I caught with my dad’s Mamiya on our way back from Hamburg to Porta Westfalica, our small hometown nestled between the mountains of the Weserbergland.

My love for cars, immediately followed by my love for photography, was born…

tbc

*** This Porsche 911 was shot standing right next to the Autobahn at the age of about 12. I often had to run and hide whenever a police car approached.