When we were putting together our website, we knew that we wanted one stand-out image for our home page. It would need to be beautiful, it would need to be aspirational, one that Graham Hill himself might be proud of.
There aren’t so many automotive photographers out there who happen to be female, maybe that brings something different to the way Amy Shore thinks about her subject and what she wants to convey, maybe not. Her images have a sense of a story unfolding and not just a picture. They put you in that car, that time, that space. Like driving through the wild Scottish highlands in an air-cooled Porsche 911.
Nikon Ambassador and Co-presenter of Driven Chat (check out their podcasts), her portfolio is stunning and includes to die for assignments like shooting Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari. Her personal account of experiences and lessons learnt along the way to becoming the success she is today ‘How to be a Car Photographer’ is a generous, must read for aspiring photographers and creatives. You can find the link at the end of some our own questions posed to Amy recently.
1. Do you remember the first photo you ever took?
Oh my, it must have been when I was a toddler as my dad has always been interested in photography! I don’t actively remember taking a photograph until I was about 13 years old but that’s primarily because I have a terrible memory. I think my love of photography really came when digital cameras became more of a thing. I’m quite an impatient person! And being able to create images with immediate results was something that hooked me!
2. You have a really unique and beautiful style – did you know you always wanted to make a career of photography?
Thank you! Yes, I always knew that I wanted to become a photographer but I always thought it was one of those unachievable dream jobs, like becoming an astronaut or an actor. I mean, both of those career choices were also on my list too! But I honestly didn’t think that it would be a logical career choice to learn to become a photographer. I hold no qualifications in photography. My dad has always photographed people and street scenes that he would then go and paint, and his passion for beautiful lighting to paint with, definitely taught me how to photograph.
3. Do you have a favourite photograph?
Tough question. Of someone else’s or my own? I think someone’s favourite photograph changes, like our favourite songs. Certain photographs or songs fit certain moments in your life, or feelings. There are many images that have inspired me over the years. I used to rip out photos in magazines that I loved and stick them to my bedroom wall. That was my original Pinterest inspiration! But of my own? There are certain images I’ve taken of cars that I’m exceptionally proud of, but my favourites will still be images of my own vehicles or loved ones, simply because I love the subject!
This is a very personal photograph that I took of my boyfriend. It’s currently my wallpaper on my phone and I have the same image printed and framed in our house. He shaves every single day and I think always will. He’s absolutely my world and this photograph is very much him. No cars in sight although both of us live and breathe the things!
4. Q4. You’re most well known for your automotive photography, but you also have a way of capturing people that is very beautiful, as if they are completely caught in the moment. Like this one of an audience transfixed at a Goodwood Revival fashion show :
We wondered how hard is it to switch between the two, particularly at an event like Goodwood?
I find it incredibly easy to switch between the two. My passion lies with people more than cars. My dream job would be to follow the life of a single person or a band or something. One of my biggest inspirations is a photographer called Harry Benson who photographed The Beatles for years. The cars are almost secondary. When I first photographed cars, I knew very, very little about classic cars! But classic cars are such beautiful pieces of machinery that even if you don’t know a thing about them, you can admire their design. It’s not too difficult to get a good photograph of them! Photographing people is harder as you have to guess what they might do next, or constantly watch around you all the time at unfolding moments.
5. What makes Goodwood so special to you?
It was the first car event I ever went to where I thought ‘huh, cars can actually be interesting!’ Up until that point, I had always looked at the car world as boring new cars that just went fast (which I wasn’t that bothered about) or classic old cars with old men driving them slowly. The Goodwood Revival is that event that makes you understand everything to do with the cars and the lifestyle around them. The way they dress the event with actors and props makes the whole weekend magical. It’s so different to car events where old blokes are dressed in their bright red Gortex coats, carrying around their fold up chair and lunchbox. The Revival is the baseline for the photographs I take even now.
6. We saw that you made your own racing debut at Silverstone last November in a Jaguar XJS, what was that like and do you have plans to do more racing yourself?
That race was one of the scariest days of my life. I loved it. I’ve always wanted to own an XJS, so to have my first debut racing in it with FasterFaster was a dream. It’s a very forgiving car!! I would definitely like to race more but my job – as much of dream job it is – doesn’t allow for too many weekends off during the summer months for me to race. My main intention on getting the licence was to have the ability to say yes if I got offered a seat in a race. Although, since coming out of lockdown, I don’t think my race suit is going to fit me again!! I need to get back into the lockdown exercising!!
7. You’ve photographed many racing cars from the history of motorsport. Each discipline has its own definitive era – Group C for sports cars, Group B in Rallying, Super Touring in the BTCC – but Grand Prix racing has iconic cars from all eras of the sport from the Bugatti Type 35 to the V10 cars of the 90s and 2000s. If you could choose one Grand Prix from any time in history to photograph which one would it be?
Oof, that’s an incredibly tough question. Part of me would love to have photographed something dreadfully significant like Nikki Lauda’s terrible crash as the story ended as a good one! Or perhaps Jenson Button’s first world championship win as I met him recently and he’s such a lovely bloke, to have been able to be there to photograph that celebration would have been incredible.
8. Is Graham Hill someone who also stands out for you in the history of motor racing?
Absolutely! His story is one to remind people that regardless of how old you are, you’re never too old to go for your dreams.
9. Notwithstanding their current position, who would you like to see win this year’s F1?
I would absolutely love to see Charles Leclerc win – this year or any year. I shot him just after he signed with Ferrari and to have been able to follow him through his career since then has been a true pleasure.
10. Favourite Grand Prix driver of all time?
Too tough to answer!
11. Favourite car you’ve ever driven?
It’s a bit of a boring answer but I think it has to be one of Jaguar Classic’s E-Types, Purple Haze. The beauty of that machine and the way it drives – I can’t understand why every car lover doesn’t want one.
12. Favourite male facial accompaniment – beard or moustache?
13. Favourite male look – well-groomed or a little bit rough around the edges?
I think it depends on the man. Up until I met my partner, I would have said rough around the edges. Rugged, stubbly, motorbike riding blokes look awesome. Then I met my partner and he has a face that could have walked out of the 1940s with a cracking jawline to match. He doesn’t suit facial hair and clean shaves every day. I think go with what works with your face!
14. Over to Amy Shore and her specialist topic How to be a Car Photographer?