#28 – Keep your eyes and ears open!

Bugatti Type 35 sports car. [Alamy image ref. BR8T27]

Tenuously linking back to Adrian Henri in my last “Abstract Art” post… when walking the streets of sixties Manchester he used to pointedly remark about how everybody walking past was staring ahead… never looking up, across or around. He used to point out the rich ornamental detail, as well as the grotty eyesores, seen everywhere and that most people never saw.

Half my lifetime later I still practice his incidental but important advice and see many otherwise unseen subjects and details worth photographing for stock. Mind you, I sometimes wonder that if most people don’t see many of the subjects I photograph… will they, as picture users acting ultimately for image consumers, ever search for those normally unseen subjects for reproduction! Hmm… Catch 22?

However, as a result of keeping my eyes open for different subjects, I also keep my ears open for different sounds. Many years ago in one of the quality motoring magazines, a respected journalist (not sure if it was L.J.K.Setright whom I accompanied as a photographer a few times on motoring press days) described the exhaust sound of a BMW 3.0l CSL sports-saloon racing car as that of “tearing calico.”

And so it was one afternoon as I typed in my hotel room… a thunderous roar bouncing around the small square in front of the ancient abbey church echoed by a similar sound a few seconds later… but not an echo… another car, making up a pair of glorious Bugatti Type 35 racers which thankfully pulled-up and parked. In one were a couple of elegant blonde Frenchwomen and in the other (illustrated here) were their partners. Both cars were in road-racing “semi-legal” trim and had competed in the Pau Grand Prix a year or so before.

They were there for only a few minutes… and then gone in a raucous spluttering as they gained sufficient revs to get out of first gear but struggled to stay within the town speed-limit… not that the local gendarmes would have cared too much, such is the unquestioned love for these famous vintage cars in French Racing Blue.

Licensed by Alamy under my “Autos” pseudo to a Swedish weekly magazine, inside spot-size  with a small print-run of 10,000 – and for a fee around double what UK national newspapers with a print-run of a million usually pay for up to half a page usage. Moral of that little tale is don’t join – or opt out at the next opportunity if you’re already in – the UK Newspaper (Scam) Scheme!


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