Decor Girl Interview with Bill Pack
By Lisa Smith
Let me introduce you to Bill Pack, of V-12 Enterprises, a talented automotive photographer you need to know. His incredible photography, usually reserved for commissions, is about to take off in the form of a new coffee table book, V-12-1. He puts cars in a brand new light, literally. We recently had the opportunity to interview Bill to learn about his automotive enthusiasm, his photographic art, about the book and how you can get a copy of this beautiful car photography book on your coffee table. (Yes, the wife will approve.)
LS: What is your interest in automobiles and how did you decide cars would be a focus of your photographic work?
BP: Lisa, first thank you for your interest in my photography. 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 and the lines of the back just captivated me. Those lines still move me today. It has always been about the lines.
Automotive design fascinates me and has drawn me to photograph cars. The lines, shapes and curves to me are the emotions of the designer. What I attempt to do is explore these and present them in a way that is new. A different view, a different light that reveals the intent of the designer with a fresh perspective. The end result becomes an art of its own.
LS: Which came first cars or cameras?
BP: It was the camera. The love of photography started in high school. I was full of emotion and needed a way to express myself. Being dyslexic, writing was out. Photography offered a solution and I excelled at it. I went to Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. I later set up an advertising photography studio in San Francisco where I spent 20+ years refining my craft. Here I developed my lighting. The fall the lighting in the Bay area is just a magical visual feast.
I got interested in a lighting technique called “Painting With Light”. For still life photography it was a wonderful tool. But my use of it with cars comes much later.
When I moved to Atlanta, I discovered classic cars in a new way. At the Caffeine and Octane car show, now the largest monthly car show in the nation, Many wonderful owners allowed me to test my lighting and develop my photographic approach to classic cars.
LS: Your Instagram feed makes many of us drool. When deciding on a car to photograph, how do you determine what to capture?
BP: It starts with a conversation with the owner. Their stories about the car, what areas of the car they are drawn to gives me direction. My first image is always the profile shot. I watch the light, (Sound familiar?) as it moves across the surface of the car. The car changes and the unexpected appears. This always makes me smile, it creates an emotion which determines what shot is next.
LS: How long does it take you to photograph a car?
BP: To create between 7 and 10 images that I am happy with, it takes about 7 to 10 hours. I work in a dark space, mostly owner’s garages or warehouses. The space has to be dark, the lens is open between 2-8 mins for each exposure. I walk around the car with my light, painting in layers of light. It can take between 30 mins to a hour to complete the final images which are created in camera not in post-production.
LS: What was your favorite car you’ve photographed?
BP: To date it is the 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone. I just love that car, it is just a bit quirky, but perfect at the same time. Makes me smile every time I see one.
LS: What car was the most difficult to photograph?
BP: The same car. There is a line in a Wallace Stegner book (Crossing to Safety) where a mentor is talking to a young writer and asked “How is the writing coming?” The writer responds, “Hard”. The mentor says, “Good, hard writing makes easy reading.” So maybe the hard images make for easy viewing. Challenging images teach me the most.
LS: If you could come back at any period in automotive history when would it be?
BP: I would love to be in Zagato’s shop when Ercole Spada first started to design. I really appreciate his story and would of loved to watch him draw out the design to scale. Then watch the metalworkers pound it into reality.
LS: If your dream garage held five only cars what would they be?
- 1925 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix
- 1931 Avions-Voisin C20 Demi-Berline
- 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus
- 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
- 1961 Jaguar E-Type Coupe Series 1
LS: What do you consider the most beautiful car ever made?
BP: There are so many that I am drawn to, the overall winner is 1961 Jaguar E Type Coupe.
LS: Back to your photography, how do you choose what cars to photograph?
BP: The first few cars were the hardest, eventually it became one owner telling another. I also spend time at as many Concourse d’Elegance events as I can, meeting the owners and listening to their car stories.
LS: Is there a car you are longing to photograph?
BP: 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
LS: When you’ve reviewed your photos, which do you find more intriguing the detail shots or those of the entire car?
BP: I appreciate both and they each have their own power, but I get lost in the details. It is here I find emotion and passion. The profile of Isetta makes me smile, every time.
LS: Can you tell our readers about the new book you are publishing of your automotive photographs, can and how you decided what cars would be in the book?
BP: The hard cover coffee table book, V-12-1 is 348 curated pages of my car images for V-12 Enterprises, printed in rich 4-color process inks to share with all who love design, cars and the art of photography. I view these cars as works of art, it was only natural for me to present them as if they were in a gallery or museum.
Three years ago I met designer Lionel Ferreira of the Ferreira Design Company. I loved the tactile quality of his design, how you could see and feel it. We happen to live in the same town and share the same love for automotive design. When it came time for the design of the book, I handed it off to Lionel without reservation. I gave him access to my image library and let him do what he does best, and he did.
I am so excited about Lionel’s design. The book in itself is a work of art. It’s visually compelling and the choice of materials creates a tactile sensory experience, that embodies the art of presentation.
The book has a sewn binding to allow the book to lay flat allowing for the best image view and layout. The covers have a tactile quality with debossed (the opposite of embossing which is a raised design) detailing and an exposed spine which reflects and highlights the craftsmanship and stitching details of classic cars. A limited quantity of books have a rich leather wrapped slipcase that features the same debossed detailing of the book’s covers.
LS: You’ve chosen to self-publish with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. How and when can people get a copy of this fabulous new book?
BP: Kickstarter allows me to present my book, my vision and invite enthusiasts of design and cars to join me on this journey. It is an all or nothing proposition, meaning if we meet the funding goal for production, we receive the funds and the book will be produced. If we miss our goal, the project will not be funded.
Bill’s campaign began October 12 and will run until November 12, 2017. Click on over and choose your level of support. Each support tier comes with different rewards the backer will receive upon successful funding. I already signed up for my copy of V-12-1 and invite our readers to ride along on this adventure. Let’s get this published!!!