"Our FOCUS for this edition is Jamie Sheldrick With a background in landscape photography, Jamie Sheldrick's photos often give you more than simply a picture of a car - we chat to him about how he got into motorsport photography. "
FOCUS on Gary Parravani
Meet Gary Parravani
Our FOCUS for this edition is Gary Parravani
From blagging a trip to Brands to where he is now, Gary Parravani tells us how he became a respected motorsport photographer.
Influx: How did you get into photography?
Gary Parravani: “I’ve always been into Motorsport, mainly because my dad worked in F1 for Team Lotus. I got rather bored of F1 in the 90’s (because it WAS bloody boring) and got into IndyCar (later to be known as Champ Car). I wanted to blag a free ticket when they came to visit Brands Hatch, so AutoRacing.com said I could get a media pass if I come and take some photos for them. Had no idea what I was doing, but I soon figured out that my 2MP Sony Cyber Shot took about a second between pressing the button and taking the shot. Managed to get a few cars in the frame by hitting the button before the car arrived.
“Druids was the location of choice as it was the slowest part of the circuit. Quite enjoyed it but felt I’d like to try and do it better. So I ‘upgraded’ to a 3MP Minolta that had a built in zoom lens and went to WTCC at Silverstone. Got chatting to a photographer who told me that I shouldn’t try to become a pro because there is no money in it.
“Had no plans to make it into a career, but that sounded like a challenge! Now I run a small agency and make a decent full-time living out of it. I count myself very lucky indeed.”
Influx: What kind of subjects do you like to shoot?
Parravani: “To be honest, I was never really that interested in photography, only motorsport. So the simple answer is cars! However, after a few years of sticking to the track I realised that there’s more to it than just being able to shoot cars.
“You need to be a bit of a landscape photographer, especially at places like Nurburgring where you really need to show the scenery. You need to be a bit of a portrait photographer and understand what your drivers want. Portraits of the male drivers often involve lots of ‘clarity’ to show all the details in their face. When you are shooting female clients its a good idea to slide that slider back down if you want to keep your job ;)”
Influx: Are there any images you’re particularly proud of?
Parravani: “The images I’m usually most proud of are the ones where they come out just like they look in your head. Quite often that’s not the case. The best illustration of this is a set-up shot I did with M-Sport at Silverstone’s Club Corner. Had the photo in my head, even drew it out as a sketch, and when it was finished it looked just like I had in mind. Thanks mainly to the M-Sport guys who went to every effort to help me set the shot up. Not so easy when you aren’t allowed to run the engine after 6pm and the location is the farthest possible distance from the pits.
“Ironically, the customer went with a shot for their newspaper advert that I quickly thought up whilst I was waiting for the second car to arrive, which just proves that it’s not all about the planning after all.”
Influx: How do you feel about camera phones?
Parravani: “They are great! It’s like having a camera that can make phone calls! You can hold it up and shoot something and nobody knows if you are shooting backwards or forwards. My Nikon can’t do that, and it can’t fit in my pocket either. However, my Nikon doesn’t suddenly die in the middle of a job even though it says it has 46% battery, and doesn’t ruin a great shot because your mum decided to call you.”
Influx: Is there a particular vehicle you’d love to shoot one day?
Parravani: “Whichever vehicle is hogging the middle lane. The bigger the rocket launcher, the better.”
Influx: What makes a good photo?
Parravani: “Lots of sun and lens flare! The more suns the better. Saw a manufacturer’s official photo with 3 suns in it once. Perfect!”
Influx: What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back ten years?
Parravani: “Use the money you were going to spend on that new D850 to buy Bitcoin.”
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