Working as a photography editor in the magazine TopSpeed I have gained incredible experiences taking photographs of automobiles in somewhat different ways than it is customary in most other automobile magazines. The whole TopSpeed team thinks differently, therefore innovative and unique photographs are always welcome.
After a certain period of time, an amazing idea occurred to the whole team. Our plan was to do a simultanous test of 15 automobiles whose total power was 6000hp and total value was 3.000.000€, which would subsequently be presented individually in the inside of the magazine, whereas their collective photograph was to be the cover page. As with every other idea, this idea of ours did not appear at first in its clear form. It rolled in the minds of several editorial office members, it leaned first towards one direction, then to another one, it slowly modified and changed itself in discussions and confontrations of different opinions, and eventually, after a few weeks of endless talks and consultations, it became crystal clear.
But, how was it possible to collect so many automobiles and to earn the trust of their owners?
TopSpeed editorial office was long accustomed to obtaining desired automobiles in “some special ways” regarding the fact that the offer of test automobiles on our market does not satisfy our ambitions and wishes.
It is much easier to our colleagues from western countries, and particularly from Great Britain, who (we are not trying to hide it) serve as a role model to us, since their market is remarkable with wealthy representatives, who even Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce models easily lend to renowned journalists – owing to the fact that they have a test automobile from every new model. Unfortunately, in our country, to put it briefly… this is impossible!
How did we, then, succeeded in this? The answer is simple. Although it may seem to you that we are rather boastful, you have to believe us that such a test not only in our country, but in this part of Europe as well, could be done solely by TopSpeed. Neglecting almost not one market segment, we have been devoted for a long time to the education of our readers as to high performance cars. Our editorialship somehow indebted a great number of speed-lovers. Reading TopSpeed and observing our very often exclusive and unique photographs, they fell in love with a certain model and, for the first time, they felt a desire for it. Therefore, it is not surprising that they enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to pay us back, in a certain way, and to let their automobile be tested, irrespective of the fact whether it was a Honda, Ferrari, McLaren… Besides, we earned their trust with our previous work and experience. Naturally, not all the automobiles were ’private‘, since several importers found their interest and supported our big test.
It was only after we had collected 15 cars that a hell of a lot of work was awaiting us. All these automobiles were now to be tested on an improvised track which we purposefully prepared for this!
From my point of view as a photographer, every moment was used at its most. My task was to take a photo of all 15 cars on the track during ride, but the same 15 cars had to be photograhed inside with all their details.
Likewise, we needed the cover page with all these 15 automobiles in the same photo! I knew what I wanted to see through the lens, but what I conceived was not at all an easy task. Our all team took part in arranging cars in a row and re-parking them. We were all focused on only one photograph… on the cover! By means of a few test photographs I realized what fitted in and what didn’t fit in the photo. New arrangements followed and after three hours we got the perfect photograph with all the cars in it – the perfect cover!
Following the first session, we began the test drive of each of the cars individually. The automobiles succeeded one another on the track, whereas, at the same time, on my camera, one lens succeeded another. For this session, I used two Nikon D3 cameras and a range of lenses (Nikkor 300mm f2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8, Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8, Nikkor 50mm f2.8, Nikkor 16mm f2.8) (the cover shot). Along with the tripod, I also used Manfrotto Magic arms and Manfrotto pump cup (and a variety of tiny details, cables, remote controls and flashes).
After 9 hours our plan was put into ation! We had the comparative test of 15 cars with all the photographic (55 inside pages with my pictures) and video material! The story of our editor, whom I met shortly after this unique issue was published, testifies what the reactions to the photos and to our feat were: Proudly presenting this edition to one of his business associates, he heard this shocking comment: “Well done, one can’t say that this is photomontage.’ It took several minutes of convincing and presenting other photographs for him to realize that we really had all these cars from the cover page at one moment at the same place and that the photo on the cover page was real. We took the fact that all this seemed so unreal to him as a compliment regarding our organizational, photographical and designing abilities.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who helped me in any way make this incredibly big photographic project a reality, and particulary to my close friend and the owner of the TopSpeed magazine, who is, indeed, responsible for the fact that one such grand magazine exists in the first place.