Wed 20 Feb. Jeff Carter – Shooting the World’s Greatest Motor Race
Getting close to live action in sport is always exciting. To get up close and personal with the cars, drivers and fans of the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile, is a dream for many motor racing fans. For Jeff Carter this was a journey which started when he was still in the RAF and went to watch and photograph races at Donnington Park. He is now the Media Delegate for the FIA covering their calendar of events all over the world. Exotic locations including Bahrain, Japan and China, and some of the most renown race tracks in Belgium, USA and UK. The FIA Endurance championship covers 8 races of which the Le Mans 24hrs is the jewel in the crown, and the most definitely the pinnacle of racing achievement. In handling such an iconic race, Jeff is responsible for the health and safety of over 500 photographers and 600 film crew during the event, at the same time as capturing media images of his own. Safety is paramount and during briefings Jeff pulls no punches as to what will happen if a photographer puts himself or others at risk by pushing the boundaries. Especially as the cars are travelling at speeds in excess of 200mph. As part of the management of media/press/sponsors requirements, a great deal of thought goes into pre-planning in the early season testing to have stock images available that can be released. Recently the racing season has undergone a revamp to place the Le Mans as the final race, building up to a climax on the racing calendar. Images are required of all the team cars at Le Mans, meaning a grid set up of over 60 cars. Not an easy task when under time constraints and satisfying each team’s wishes. At Le Mans there is carnival atmosphere. Each team participates in a role call in the centre of Le Mans itself, where the public get to engage with their heroes. And the possibility of rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars. Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) is a team owner and driver in his own right. In China, the martial arts film star Jackie Chan, runs a team, he also has cult status, which draws the crowds in. In compiling a range of images throughout the Le Mans 24hrs and other global events, it is not just the cars which are captured. The aim is to tell a story. Depict the energy, vibrancy, emotion, excitement of the event and capture the local identity of the various venues. Jeff explained how he sets out to frame the shots he wants, the techniques he uses, the camera and lenses he employs and some background anecdotal stories of his 10 best shots. Jeff is a Fujifilm Ambassador and gains significant input into the development of new product with specific attention to sport. Jeff was a most entertaining speaker, even for non ‘Petrol Heads’. Informative, amusing and highly passionate about his sport. His images reflected the dynamism, creativity and technique of a highly professional photographer.