Archives for posts with tag: Car Photography

It’s been a long time coming:

after months of planning my new website – featuring a large number of automotive images – is now live and will be updated continuously: http://www.automotivephotographer.us

Please take a look and share your thoughts.

Thanks,

Jens

Your average 911 driver is about 15 years from his final rest, seriously overweight and most likely a banker.

At least that was the common preconception in my hometown back in the early 80’s. So when I decided to get one myself, at the tender age of 32, I knew that times had changed. Unless I was going to spend the next decade and a half hitting the McDonald’s drive-through a handful of times a day. Then drop dead from malnutrition before my midlife crisis had a chance to properly get off the ground.

I was living in London at the time and had mentioned to my friend – car fanatic Ernie Logen – that I was interested in getting a classic, low-mileage Carrera. Shortly after, he found me a beautiful white convertible with black Fuchs alloys and only 30,000 original miles on it. So I got on a plane to Frankfurt and he chauffeured me down to Koblenz to check out the 911. It was beautiful but fortunately for me there were a couple of issues with the engine which the seller agreed to have fixed before I picked it up. This gave me time to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Seegers – (back in ’86) she had famously bent her body across the front end of a Ferrari Dino 246 for me so I could enter the saucy photograph into a competition. They were independent Porsche specialists and quickly tore apart my uncurbed enthusiasm. A number of things were not original and therefore the car would have been a bad choice if I wanted its value to appreciate.

So instead of buying the Cabrio, I joined a private members’ club that owned a large number of classics. Over the next two years I enjoyed driving not only a 911 (despite not being a big fan of the 996, that Turbo sure was plenty fast and a lot of fun),

996 Turbo shot in NYC

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I also got my hands on some rare beauties like this 60’s suicide door Lincoln Continental, a number of Ferraris, Bentleys and Rollers, a beautiful Citroen DS and an old Aston Martin.

Citroen DS - on a day trip to Norfolk

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In ’91 I had met a German who simply bought all those cars for himself. When his father had some kind of issue with the tax man and fled across the border to Switzerland, 24-year old Bernd took over daddy’s business: a chain of sex shops that made such vast amounts of cash, my young friend was able to have a large hangar built. Which he then filled with exclusive sports cars from Italy, Britain and Germany. I had just finished school and enjoyed a few months training under Donato Passarotto at a small workshop servicing Lamborghinis. Bernd would show up every other week with a different car. As designated driver for the coffee run, I was about to take off in the mechanic’s little Fiat when the King of X-rated Toy Sales chucked me the key to his 964 Carrera4. Who knew that the short trip to the shop could turn into an unforgettable half hour of adrenalin overload?

I was hooked.

But not quite prepared for what easily made it into my top 5 of all time personal highlights. For 3 days around my 26th birthday I was actually paid to drive hundreds of miles down some of the most scenic British roads. In a brand new 993 Turbo S (one of only 33 to be delivered to the UK). That yellow dream of a car could out-accelerate (and smoke less than) an F16 and out-brake a bullet hitting a concrete wall. Having just returned from our trip, my friend Dan temporarily forgot that he was now back in his own car. After delivering his favourite line “Watch this!”, he slid his 944 past the flower-encrusted centrepiece of the local roundabout and smashed the back end of his prized possession into the ditch just on the other side. Two hooded thieves – cruising past in a stolen XR3i – shook their heads in utter contempt.

Some years later, on my way to the airport, I had an unfortunate encounter with a postman. Charles Bukowski‘s co-worker had pushed my 7-Series sideways across Edgeware Road. He wasn’t riding a typical delivery bicycle either but was instead driving a 40-ton Royal Mail truck. Upon hearing his lame excuse “Sorry mate, I didn’t see ya!”, I was tempted to suggest that he probably shouldn’t be driving around London in a vehicle bigger than the Buckingham Palace. The silver lining around that cloud appeared when my BMW went in for its repair. The rental car company couldn’t get me the pre-booked 745i, so they dropped off a Jaguar XK8 Convertible on 20 inch rims. The crappy interior made me wonder if I was driving an old Fiesta. So they replaced the Jag with this 997 Carrera S.

Sif Agustsdottir flying past Battersea power station

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Which reminds me of my upcoming project: shooting a one-of-a-kind 997 Turbo for a private collector.

In the meantime I will be thinking of a new approach to convincing my wife of something that might seem like a no-brainer to you: selling her 2-door Accord to replace it with the most reliable sports car on the planet: a 911.

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.

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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)

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…

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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.