By on June 20, 2011

Jacques Séguéla, a French photographer and founder of the advertising agency RSCG supposedly once said: “Don’t tell my mother I’m in advertising, she thinks I’m a pianist in a brothel”. It must have been an exclusive brothel. Photographers, especially for cars, are paid higher and are sought after more than exquisite courtesans. Fees of $1,000 per hour are not unheard of. What do they do for that much money? They make the cars look good.

Dietmar Henneka is one of them. I know what his rates were. In the 70s and 80s, Dietmar was one of the most sought after and highest paid courtesans of the business, and we did many campaigns together.

When Dietmar heard that the car is celebrating its 125th birthday, he thought of the people who set it in scene. Fashion and cars are unthinkable and unsalable without photographers. Henneka wanted to unite them under one roof. If you are on a trip through Europe in Summer, make a stop in Sindelfingen, which will become even more pittoresque from July 3 through August 28 with the exhibition “Ein Bild von einem Auto” – Mercedes Benz through the lenses of famous photographers 1930 – 2010.

The exhibition is at the gallery of the city of Sindelfingen at the central market square – you can’t miss it.  Exhibition and a printed catalog will show 87 pictures by 66 photographers, some dead, some alive, some hardly known, some world famous. Here are a few.

Dieter Blum / 600er Pullman / 1989

Gary Bryan / Car, Glass Girl / 1997

David Douglas Duncan / Ghost of Sindelfingen / 1954

Zoltán Glass / speed and spirit III / 1934

Hans Hansen / o.T. / 1989

Dietmar Henneka / Nighthawks, Hommage to Edward Hopper / 1999

Werner Pawlok / Polaroid Lifts C 9 III / 1992

Horst Stasny / Grossglockner / 2002

Reinhart Wolf / Vorbilder I / 1959

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9 Comments on “The Car’s Courtesans: A Flashback At Car Photography...”

  • avatar

    Wher can I get a copy of the catalogue?

    Bob Elton

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    This video is a great example of how car guys tend to look at cars from one perspective, non-car guy photographers look at them from an entirely different perspective…form definitely takes precedence over function. I found that out when I asked my non-car guy nephew to take his camera to a car show.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been shooting 3D for the past half year or so. Though I always try to get front 3/4 “beauty” shots as well as rear views, I’ve noticed that because I’m shooting for stereo, I look for things with what I call dimensional texture, like a cutaway engine with multiple cutaways at different depths. In terms of dimensional texture, cars from the ’50s or older are great. The Hudson Italia was amazing, all sorts of odd shapes. All sorts of shapes going on. The 1960 Chrysler Imperial may be a bit extreme but it looks great in 3D with its fins and headlight pods. Actually, though, Ken Lingenfelter brought a Lamborghini Reventon to the show and it also has a lot of things going on with panels at different angles, ducts, etc. I think my favorite car to shoot at the event was the Hudson Italia. That and the Packard Hawk, which is both hideous and beautiful at the same time. There was a ’53 Stude coupe (won a blue ribbon) next to a GT Hawk and I know that Studebaker Hawks have a dedicated fan base (besides being a character in a Frank Zappa song) but seeing those two next to each other highlights what terrible things they did to that coupe to make it into the Hawk.

      Lingenfelter also brought a Ferrari 599 which I happen to like but oddly didn’t think there was anything special about it in terms of 3D so I’m not sure that I shot it specifically. I shot his Veyron because I thought the exposed engine bay would look nice in stereo.

      Speaking of VAG’s BSD, am I the only car guy left cold by the fastest production car in the world? It looks like a bug. Don’t tell me that’s an aero form follows function thing because there are plenty of high performance aircraft that are nice aesthetically. I’m no designer, but visually, to me, it’s a hot mess of shapes. I kind of get what Hartmut Warkuss was trying to do, but it just doesn’t flow together for me. I think the Audi R8 is a much more successful design.

    • 0 avatar

      Jerry, those are nice shots but if you look at the set, almost all the photos are either close up forced perspective bumper level front 3/4 views or elevated front 3/4 views. I’d be interested to ask your nephew why he chose the views that he chose. Everyone is different, but when I shoot a car I try to capture something about the car’s shape that makes it unique, try to understand what the designers were doing.

  • avatar

    I love car photography.

    I have 8461 mostly german desktop backgrounds (3.27GB). No GT-Rs, no Mustangs, CTS-Vs, Z06s, Infinitis, Acuras, Hummers, Saabs, Camaros, Paganis, Gumperts, Atoms, Lotuses, SLKs or the E90 sedan.

    Yes on the Ford Raptor. New 1-series tentatively. Most recently new M5 and some cool Ferrari shots (link)

  • avatar

    You say car photography? Well, yesterday I posted the full set from the Cars ‘R’ Stars car show last week at the Packard Proving Grounds at Cars In Depth. There were over 250 stereo pairs in that set. Yesterday I was at the Eyes On Design show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate benefiting the Detroit Institute Of Ophthalmology. I haven’t processed the pics yet but I think there were 200-300 cars there and I know that I shot at least half of them. Usually at least two shots of every car.

  • avatar

    Bertel, in light of the post’s title I’m surprised that you didn’t reference some of Zoltan Glass’ other work.

    Glass was pretty dedicated. He stayed in Germany until the Nuremberg laws got him fired from the Berliner Tagblatt in 1936. He used his connections with the J. Walter Thompson ad agency to relocate his base of operations to London, but continued to photograph races in Germany and run his photographic agency in Berlin. After Kristalnacht in ’38, though, Jews were prohibited from owning businesses, and under pressure from the Nazis his work for Mercedes, Auto Union and other clients ended. He moved permanently to London. His archive of negatives was left to a British museum which recently digitized them.

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