Most of the time, when photographers are buying equipment, they choose the piece of gear that will accomplish their goal using some set of typical parameters: price, weight, build quality, warranty, size, speed, etc. These days, for shooting Formula One car races, you’d probably choose a fast-focusing, high frame-rate camera such as the Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX — if you had the budget for it — because F1 cars are fast and crazy. But that’s not what this photographer did; he decided to step back 100 years and break out a camera that was definitely not designed for shooting a modern-day race track. And the images are awesome.
After shooting F1 races for four years, photographer Joshua Paul decided he wanted to try something different. He unpacked an old friend: a Graflex camera that was made in 1913. In the past, he had used it to document the aftermath of the September 11th Attacks in New York, but it had sat unused since.
Looking at these images, it’s hard for me to tell which is getting more of a “new life”: the camera or the cars. The whole set feels pleasingly anachronistic. While the subjects are modern and alive and fast and energetic — there's even one of a guy wearing headphones — the images seem to do more than just freeze the moment of capture. They take the whole F1 idea back in time, like the old camera is grabbing everything it sees and throwing it back a century.
I know that shooting with this camera has to be complicated, and shooting race track action even more so. But Paul does a great job with telling the story of the races. By not just focusing on the cars, he tells so much more of the story that is often overlooked: the people and the process. It's not just that these images are on film, and not even that they're black and white. It's just a combination of everything about them that makes the subjects seem so much older than they are that makes these images fun to look at. Well done, Joshua!
All images by Joshua Paul.
[via BLACK FLAG]