Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Williams F1 Grand Prix Team- the tale of a shoot

A short while ago I was extremely lucky to be invited to photograph the Williams Formula 1 Racing Team. The brief was loose but based on the work of one of the world’s great photographers but given a twist that was my own. It started with a call from Angela Burt of Williams, asking about availability for a shoot and then a long conversation about what they were looking for, did they have any ideas, what was their time scale….the usual things. It turned out they had some very distinct ideas about what they wanted which I have to say is unusual, and a very short time scale which was not unusual. They showed me work of a very famous photographer and said something like this, but definitely in black and white. The final images were going to be used as prints in their new motorhome, this is a three storey, 21 pantechnicon construction that travels to every European Grand Prix, with restaurant, offices and top floor cocktail lounge. The discussions went backwards and forwards until we had a clear idea. The plan was for just one session but as is probably always the case in F1 only  two of the four drivers were available that day so it extended into three sessions at the Williams Factory in Grove. I took over a portable studio ending up using 6 lights. Here is a picture of the set-up.

Williams F1

Usually F1 teams look very serious and lacking in humour and I wanted to get away from that, I found them all to be very nice a friendly and I wanted to show that in the pictures. It took a little while to convince the drivers to lose the ‘focussed’ look that every other photographer wanted from them and to go with the flow a bit. The results were a great success, when Williams released some on their Facebook page there were thousands of comments and the Twitter feed went quite bonkers.

Susie Wolff.Frank Williams.Clare Williams

Felipe Massa.Susie Wolff.Clare Williams

Susie Wolff.Clare Williams

Felipe Nacer

You can see more of the pictures here

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