Grand Prix Racers – Portraits of Speed
Photography by Bernard and Paul-Henri Cahier, text by Xavier Chimits; Publish Date: 2008; Publisher: Motorbooks/MBI Publishing Company (Minneapolis), Hardback, 224 pages
The ninth book in my review series is Grand Prix Racers – Portraits of Speed. This is a beautiful collection of black and white photography by Bernard Cahier and his son Paul-Henri. The Cahier family has chronicled the Formula One World Championship since its inaugural race at Silverstone, England, in 1950.
The images were chosen to represent each period of Formula 1. The book is organized in six sections, determined by the drivers’ shared personality and driving traits. There are 12 drivers in each section for a total of 72 in the study. It’s a fascinating presentation capturing the personality, focus, magnetism, determination, and elusive character of a Formula 1 Grand Prix driver. Their unique make-up of talent and skill defines their inclusion in this “elite brotherhood”.
Some of my favorite images are as follows…The Stylists: a close-up of Jim Clark with the impression of his goggles still visible on his cheeks and forehead; The Tenacious Ones: a photographic composition of Jo Siffert, with his distinctive helmet, navigating a high-speed corner; The Romantics: the carefree nature and expression of Mike Hawthorn; The Scientists: the grizzled look of Stirling Moss post-race, leaning on his car with a soda; The Acrobats: a portrait that captures the air of nobility and confidence of Wolfgang von Trips; and The Tough Ones: a candid photograph of Denny Hulme with a flower in his mouth.
Grand Prix Racers captures the power of black and white photography. This collection of portraiture serves as an inspiration for any photographer hoping to capture the essence of their subject. I encourage everyone to include it in their collection.