The story of auto racing ...
... has always been told best through its images. Since that very first race in Chicago in 1895, photographic images have continuously preserved the historic and memorable personalities and events that have made racing such a rich experience. For me, a racing photograph is a living piece of history. As I look at each print I feel an almost spiritual connection with the people and events that shaped auto racing history ... as though I'm personally sharing the moments that define our sport.
Photographers have always been heroes to me. Through their passionate dedication and boundless energy, the glorious history of American auto racing has been preserved for us to study and enjoy. Cameramen in the early days were a hard working lot ... they trekked across America from desolate dust holes to the Cathedral of Speed in Indianapolis. Their primitive equipment was as technologically lacking as were the racing cars of the day. First came the messy and fragile glass plates (some still exist in the photo archive of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Then came those tall and cumbersome Graflexes, followed by the ubiquitous Speed Graphic with its sheet film. It wasn't until the 1950's that the use of 35mm equipment became widespread. Today's marvelous digital equipment is matched by the advanced technology of contemporary racing cars. One might say that racing photography grew up along side of auto racing.
While camera equipment may have improved, the high level of the photographers' dedication to their craft has remained constant. Perhaps that's why I've been saddened by the fact that so many of my heroes have lost their identities to the ages. Their names have been forgotten and their negatives have often been discarded. Their images, when published today, are all too often credited to the "So and So Collection" rather than to the past master who created the image. Worse, many surviving negative collections have been subsumed into those of present day photographers who selfishly assign credit to themselves. In my Past Masters link, I've provided a brief bio on many of these great open cockpit lensmen along with some contemporary shooters who have made, and continue to make, significant contributions. I've been fortunate to meet and fellowship with many of these greats. And I'm humbled to count myself a lesser member of this august group of photojournalists.
On these pages appear a number of my own photographs. And, having the good fortune to own the negatives of the late Harry Goode, many of his fine images are also included. If you are an author, publisher, collector or are in need of prints to help with the restoration of a past racing machine, please contact me. If my archive does not contain the image you need, perhaps one of my photojournalist colleagues will have it.
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