I studied Illustration Photography at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. At Brooks, Illustration Photography was the Commercial and Advertising Photography degree.
Do you like sculpture and art in general?
Yes, Art is a major influencer. I am drawn to art that has strong graphic lines. I find architecture most inspiring because the lines are always changing as light moves across the surfaces. As the light changes, different intents of the the Architect are revealed. Architecture is really a large sculpture.
Did you had any teacher or you consider yourself as an autodidact?
I think all artists are a combination of instruction, experience and personal refinement. A combination of advertising photographers, Art Directors and Designers in Dallas and San Francisco, played a major role in my formal education and clients and critics helped me take the next step on my own! I owe Paul Pruneau and Diane Padys a “thank you” for their support and belief in me early in my career. My work has always been about lighting, texture and design. San Francisco was the best place to start my career. It’s the hot spot for creative arts and advertising in the US. The creative community there is wonderful and competitive. It was there that I adopted a lighting technique called “painting with light”.
When did you start to shot cars and why?
My first memory of my passion for cars occurred when I was pretty young (7 or 8). I was out playing with friends and I ran past this 1963 split window corvette stingray. I stopped and just looked at it. The lines of the back just captivated me. I never forgot that. Those lines still move me today. It has always been about the lines. Early in my career, I was fortunate to shoot advertising for Mazda, Acura and Saturn. It was big production studio and location shoots. Lots of people… lots of moving parts. I enjoyed it, but automotive advertising did not satisfy my creative aspirations. About a decade ago we moved the family to the Atlanta area to be closer to family and to raise our children. It is here that I started working on classic cars and presenting them as an art form.
I love the way you use light to emphasize the volumes of the car you are shooting. Do you look at them as an sculpture masterpiece?
Tell us more about your approach?
I approach classic collector cars as museum quality art and I attempt to present them as art to hang in galleries and museums.
I believe every car has a story.
Every story has two main elements: the narrative and the visual.
I've developed a technique called "painting with light" to unlock the visual narrative.
Light reflects the owner's passion.
Light reveals the essence of the design.
The combination creates a visual legacy that honors the car, collector and community.
Also your photographies are very graphical too. Indeed three-dimensonal thanks to the way you use light and shadows, but strongly graphical with the way you fill the frame. Is that right? What is your inspiration about it?
I believe that elegance and power resides in simplicity. I am drawn to simple graphic lines. As I am viewing the car I think about the designer who started on paper with an idea and a line. I look for the key lines of the designer and attempt to reveal them in a new way. I believe a lot of emotion and energy went into these designs, my lighting brings that emotion to my imagery. That inspires me. I learn something new on each project.
What do you want to transmit with your photos?
I would say the passion and emotion of the designer’s intent. The photos reveal the car as the art it is. The goal is for people to appreciate it as art while telling the visual story of the car. The biggest comment I get from collectors is that they wished they had done this with cars that are no longer in their collection!
Do you use a lot of modern photography software and post-production or you are more “old school”
I am old school in the sense that I capture my imagery in a single frame and then I use Photoshop to create my backgrounds. My lighting is all in camera. My adaptation of "painting with light" is literally painting layers of light to create the image. It is very much in a sense handmade. Each exposure and frame is different. I do not set up a static lighting situation and shoot a bracket of exposures. Each shot or frame is custom and no two images are ever the same. This allows me to explore a wide range of emotions within each composition. I set up the angle of the camera, but it is the exploration of lighting that creates the power of the image. I do not use Photoshop to create a look or style, my lighting and design in camera are my style. So in a real sense I do not take pictures, I create images, I attempt to create art.
Among all the cars you already have photographed which one is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick just one. Each shoot has it's own story, interactions with the owner and the discovery process for each image. When the shot is being developed it is like magic when the image is discovered. It is very exciting and emotional. I would have to say the 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale was my favorite. It just kept on giving, image after image. It was a wonderful creative experience.
If you could have any car in your studio tomorrow which one would be?
Maybe some cool Ferrari or Maserati from the 1950's. The perfect blend of lines, shape and history.
I assume you like classic cars... Do you have any in your garage.
That is in the works, I kind of have my eye on a certain Alfa. That would be a special car for me.
Do you prefer Prewar or Postwar?
Post war, that is where the name of my business came from. The wonderful collections of Lamborghini, Jaguar E-Type and Ferraris with v12 engines.
Any art exhibitions in the near future to admire your work?
That is in the works and I also have a book in the works. I will keep you updated on those fronts! For now you can view my work at www.v12enterprises.com and on my instagram account @v12enterprises.
I bet there would be many classic car collectors looking forward to get greta picture of their cars. How does it work to commission specific photos from you?
The process is really easy, it starts with a 15 to 20 minute conversation to determine the scope of the commission, the production needs, image creation and the desired out-comes. I offer limited edition signed prints, to limited edition books with custom one off presentation cases. I work with a very talented designer and artisans to create these. They are a works of art.