“Graham Hill was not only the epitome of style, he was also a photographer’s dream. I vividly remember the first time I saw Graham Hill. It was July 1966, at the Brands Hatch Circuit, on the UK set of ‘Grand Prix’ The Movie.”
Being able to collaborate with amazingly talented creative people is one of the joys of bringing a new product to life. So, when photographer, Chris Smith, told us about his experience of photographing Graham Hill and allowed us to use some of his stunning photos of the motorsport legend, we were quite rightly delighted.
You can imagine how thrilled we were when he said he’d like to share some words too and are very proud to make Chris our first guest blog. Graham was a personal icon for Chris, as he told us below.
I vividly remember the first time I saw Graham Hill. It was July 1966, at the Brands Hatch Circuit, on the UK set of ‘Grand Prix‘ The Movie. The film included real racing footage and cameo appearances by drivers including Graham Hill who had already been Formula One World Champion by then.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to take any photos of him at that time, but I was fortunate enough to be able to do so when I was a Freelance Photographer, which also piqued my interest in Formula One.
I recall that Formula One was very different during this time; it was much easier going and far less money driven. So generally, there was a more relaxed atmosphere for both drivers and spectators, and all those involved.
Graham Hill, Brands Hatch
When asked what struck me most about Graham Hill, I say he was a man with steely concentration. He had an outstanding ability to win, whilst always respecting the rules. For me, he stood out because he was just different from other drivers. With his immaculate appearance and 100% genuine delight in being photographed, Graham Hill truly was a pro photographers dream.
Ever pristine both in his appearance and driving ability, he was the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship.
My favourite photograph of him is the one below, which I named Portrait of a Legend. It reflects why Graham Hill was my number one driver without any doubt at all.
I qualified to become an assistant photographer for a Whitehall Government department in 1964 and all these years later still have a passion for photography, well on a warm day! In the 1960s, I used a Nikon F 35mm, now it’s a Nikon D90 DSLR.
Whilst I fulfilled many ambitions as a photographer there is one shot, I would have liked to have captured. I once saw a young boy coming out of a little newsagent shop with his dad. In the boy’s tight grip was a small toy that his father had just bought him. As he clutched this to his chest, the lad’s expression of utter delight was totally unforgettable. How I would love to have been able to capture that instant.
An impossible task sadly!
By Chris Smith, Photographer
GRAHAM HILL tips:
Graham’s moustache was a key part of his look and if you’d like to keep yours conditioned and with a nice glossy look, try MULSANNE. Like most of our products, it’s vegan and paraben free.