Every year, members of the Guild of Motoring Writers (GoMW) submit work to the Committee of this organisation, for consideration in the Annual Awards. The Guild was formed in 1944 and today boasts 400 members who specialise in all aspects of the media in the motor and motorsport industries, such as journalism, photography, video and broadcasting.
The annual dinner and awards evening is held in the Royal Automobile Club in London and is attended by a couple of hundred members of the automotive press and PR representatives from the various motor manufacturers in the UK. It is a very smart occasion and attendees must dress in black tie or long evening dress, and most people are usually on their best behaviour that evening. This writer has attended this event a number of times and after each dinner, one is left in awe of the magnificence of the Club and its surroundings, and the special atmosphere of the evening.
The awards are divided into a number of different categories, and includes awards for various areas of speciality from technical writing, book writing, commercial, photography and more. Taking a step back for a moment, the photographic agency VIRTUAL MOTORPIX, was formed in 2010 in response to a need to supply specialist images for authors and journalists. In 2015, John Mountney joined us and our professional relationship with John has just continued to grow.
As we approached the deadline for the submission of work for the 2016 GoMW annual awards, John decided to submit some of this work for consideration. You can imagine his surprise, and our delight, when he was informed that he had been selected as a finalist in the Motorsport Photography section. John had submitted a selection of his shots from the year that in his opinion represented special moments at the race track, and we have listed these below with captions from John explaining why each shot was special to him.
“I have submitted a selection of shots which I believe show a unique perspective on motorsport photography, showing images that the average spectator and fan cannot get to see, together with the human element of the sport,” John said.
The fashion in photography today is to rely on manipulation of images in post-production, with many shots being almost surreal, relying on over saturation, dark shadows and blur. As a photographer, John feels that he has the responsibility to accurately report the facts, to be able to clearly see the subject and enjoy the detail of the shot.
John received a ‘Highly Commended’ on the evening of the Awards and we would like to congratulate him on this achievement. Here is the selection John submitted:
Andre Lotterer in Parc Ferme Bahrain
“There was always a chance that Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer could become World Endurance Drivers Champions in 2015, depending on the result of the 6-Hours of Bahrain, the last race of the 2015 season. This shot shows Andre at the moment when he realised that he was not going to be 2015 Champion.”
Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the snow
“Audi have always prided themselves on pioneering four-wheel drive in motorsport, but this was probably the first time an Audi WEC car has been driven in the snow. Silverstone in April always throws up a few surprises.”
Porsche 919 on Mulsanne Straight
“This was shot early on Saturday evening in the lull between the frenetic activity of the start and the onset of the excitement of the night, as the cars tick off the laps counting down to the end. Despite the car travelling at eye-watering speeds, this shot shows the detail of the Porsche against the backdrop of the circuit surroundings.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich on the pit wall at Le Mans 2015
“Dr. Ullrich was head of the Audi e-tron quattro project until the end of the 2015 Le Mans 24-Hours. I have observed Dr. Ullrich during many races, and at some stage in a race he always takes himself off to the pit wall alone to watch the cars go by. This shot captures the moment when he did this for the last time. If only we could know what was going through his mind at that time.”
Kazuki Nakajima consoled as he walks away from the stricken Toyota TS050
“Kazuki Nakajima was fated to be the driver who took the Toyota victory at Le Mans 2015, until five minutes before the end when the car lost power. With a worldwide audience watching and willing him on, victory was cruelly snatched from him and the team. This shot was taken just after he climbed from the car.”
Porsche 911 RSR on fire in the pits
“Ninety percent of being a motorsport photographer is being in the right place at the right time, sometimes this is luck while at other times it is down to planning. In this case, I planned to take shots during pit stops from the roof and I was lucky enough to catch this scene. I was particularly impressed by the professionalism of the pit crew as they just got on with their jobs on one side of the car, whilst a fire developed on the other side.”
John travels to all the WEC races in Europe, and can also be seen at Silverstone or Donington shooting a mixture of current and historic race cars. More of John’s work can be seen here.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: John Mountney