FOCUS on Andrew Soul
Meet Andrew Soul
Our FOCUS for this edition is Andrew Soul
What kind of cars would Essex boy Andrew Soul like to shoot? And how did he get started in photography? We had a quick chat.
Influx: How did you get into photography?
Andrew Soul: “It wasn’t hugely planned to be honest. I’ve always lived roughly 20 minutes from Brands Hatch, and as a young kid I would go there with my Dad. It was the early ’90s when I started to go and the BTCC was at its absolute peak, which was what got me into motorsport. My Dad always liked to take his SLR out and about with him and would always take it to races, snap a lot and hope that he’d get a few that were good enough to go in the photo albums that we all kept back in the day. I always had a sense of excitement of waiting for the photos to come back from being developed and I was the one that put everything in albums and labelled them up, so looking back now I probably did have an interest in photography, without really knowing.
“Fast forward many years and our Father/Son racetrack visits became less and less, but we’d still try and make one every so often. In roughly 2010/11 we were due to go to an event at Brands, but my Dad wasn’t well and couldn’t go. Rather than miss it, I said I’d still go and I’d like to attempt to take a few photos on his camera myself, not knowing how to do anything other than how to press the on button! After that one day and many unsuccessful photos taken, I realised I actually quite liked trying to take a photo, so I regularly went back as a spectator and kept trying to learn at everything from many cold, wet club meetings to few higher profile race weekends.
“In 2012, before I expected to be honest, I got my first break when I spoke to a contact at a local newspaper who was interested in carrying some stories and photos on Luciano Bacheta, a local racer who was flying high in Formula 2. My first weekend in front of the spectator fence was a hugely surreal time! I felt sure I was going to get shouted at for trespassing or something! To this day I still find it a tad surreal that I do what I do and that drivers etc. know who I am. I will never take it for granted.”
Influx: What kind of subjects do you like to shoot?
Soul: “It’s always been motorsport for me. But then I did have an assignment for a bread company earlier this year and unlike racing where you don’t get to drive your subjects, you did get to eat all of the food!! So I’m more than open to change…”
Influx: Are there any images you’re particularly proud of?
Soul: “I’m very much my own harshest critic, but every so often I get something that I’m happy with. There are a handful that stand out over the last few years. One in particular is the photo from the Brands Hatch pit lane when the cars are being pushed back. There had been a red flag towards the end of the session and I knew that most, if not all, of the cars would be pushed out at the same time as the drivers clambered for track space. I had an idea that by using a really slow shutter speed I could greatly exaggerate the movement of the cars being pushed and hopefully grab a bit of the green flag that was about to be waved above me to show that it was the restart of the session. Thankfully pretty much every car (other than Tom Ingram’s, damn you Speedworks!) was pushed out at the same time so my idea pretty much worked, although being super-critical like I am I’d no doubt like to improve it! It’s still the most liked photo I’ve uploaded to my Instagram account though, so perhaps I should just give myself a slap.
“Other than that, one I took of Jack Goff at the final BTCC round of last year will forever catch my eye I think. I’m not one for sticking my camera in people’s faces and intruding on them as they’re preparing for battle, but every so often I do. More so if I know them and their character. I’ve worked with Jack on and off for a few seasons now, so I tend to know that he’s not going to throw a diva strop (like some!) if I try and take his photo whilst he’s getting ready and, if anything, he’ll just throw in a few catalogue poses for good measure. Jack ‘ASOS.com’ Goff that he is.”
Influx: How do you feel about camera phones?
Soul: “I love them to be fair. It gives you the opportunity to store memories from whatever and wherever you experience in life. I mean it’s slightly annoying when you stumble across someone who takes a phone photo and it looks too good to be taken on an iPhone but you know, that’s probably just jealousy…”
Influx: “Is there a particular vehicle you’d love to shoot one day?”
Soul: “I’m an Essex boy, so naturally I’m always drawn to Fast Fords and even though I’ve come across them in passing in various races, I’d love to have some proper time with some Sierra Cosworths. So if anybody out there owns one and wants some photos then shout!!”
Influx: What makes a good photo?
Soul: “I always think photography is subjective. Yeah you could all follow the old fashioned, set rules, but where’s the fun in everyone doing the same thing? For me the photos I take that I like the most are the ones that include blur and colour. The more of both the better.”
Influx: What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back ten years?
Soul: “In the summer of 2015 place an extremely large sum of money on Leicester City to win the Premier League.”
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