Where do I even start?
The Goodwood Revival, an event which has taken place in September since its inception in 1995, is a special event. That sentence however sells the Revival short. I think I’d go as far as to say that this is probably the most important automotive happening on the planet.
I’ve spent the last few days considering this, and I really can’t help but to keep arriving to the same conclusion. Nothing from anywhere in the world that I’ve ever seen can even come close to touching this. In a world of imitations, the Revival is truly unique. Where else can you see a grid of Ferrari GTOs racing wheel to wheel in this day an age? A grid with a value of over $500 million.
Every detail is accounted for – the modern cars are kept outside the perimeter of the site and a separate car park is created for the many vintage cars that arrive over the course of the three days.
You can lose hours in the car park alone and you don’t even need a ticket to get this far into the event.
I think I arrived at around 8am on the Friday morning, but didn’t pass over the bridge into the show itself until just before noon.
Make no mistake, these aren’t trailer queens – everyone of the cars in the car park was driven under its own power to get here.
The Revival has a special power which ignites your senses of awe and amazement. I think it’s normal to feel numb after a few hours as usually, your mind just cannot comprehend what’s going on.
As much of a cliché as it is, the Revival is as close as you’ll ever get to travelling back in time to what remains the greatest period for motoring enthusiasts, from the late 1940s to late 1960s. Twenty years where we lost ourselves into the soul of the automobile. A time where cars were designed with no boundaries and only one goal – to look beautiful.
The Revival isn’t just about the cars though, it’s about something much more important than that.
It’s about a way of life.
Once you arrive into the main area of the Goodwood Race Circuit, your senses are treated to a full on assault. From faux-presidential campaigners trying to rally support for their candidate …
… to an authentic grocery experience should your thirst or hunger need to be satisfied throughout the event.
Even the ‘latest’ cars are celebrated with promotion appropriate to the era.
I’m sure this gentleman could tell us a story or two.
Staring through the glass into an unobtainable world, I guess some things don’t change over time.
I’ve never been a motorcycle guy but anyone with petrol in their veins can’t help but appreciate mechanical beauty when they see it.
Although it’s still four wheels that gets my heart pumping.
Recreating a car show from Earl’s Court allows us all to experience the excitement of a car launch from the relevant era.
A pair of Hurricanes and a Spitfire regularly pass overhead, their sound drowning out the cars on track. Later they would be joined by a Lancaster bomber, the sight and sound of which sends chills down your spine. The thoughts of watching squadrons of them launch from British shores in the 1940′s is something we’ll only every be able to dream about today but still, the Revival provides with just enough to quench our thirst for it.
Lunch is provided by modern facilities cleverly disguised.
A Mustang & Mustangs occupied a busy corner of the market area.
Overhead, another pair of fighters duel for supremacy in the skies.
My own personal quest to install some of this life style into my modern life would have to feature a Ford rod of some description.
The amalgamation of cultures into one area provides a fascinating in-sight to the world of the time. When British and American cultures combine.
The authentic paddock packed with authentic race cars. This ’67 GT40 MK IV won Le Mans that year with Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt behind the wheel. A car that should probably be in a museum but instead is still being used as Ford intended.
Forty five years later and it’s still going strong.
I’m going to leave the details of the cars present to Jonathan, whose knowledge on these matters far exceeds mine. He’ll be along later with more stories from the Revival.
There was often times where I’d have to pinch myself to remind me that I wasn’t dreaming, and that it was all happening before my very eyes.
And happening inside my ears too. I wish I had the literary skills required to describe this sound to you. I could write for the next twenty years and not even come close.
In fact I could probably try and mumble on about this for ever more and you still probably wouldn’t believe me.
This is the greatest show on earth. Next year, you need to be here too.
Lovely post Monsieur McGrath. I too love the Bentley R Type. Post more photos?
I think (i've not been to the Revival yet - i intend to - so please bear with me) but i think maybe one could make a counter-point that there's something voyeuristic about the vicarious enjoyment of all that past, and all that privilege... but i won't bother 'cos it looks like a blast anyways ;)
Mustang the plane beats Mustang the car for cool every time - my 10p worth :)
PaddyMcGrathSH Great work as always Paddy.
I would firstly love to go to the Revival one year, I've got to live with the australian version which is Muscle Car Masters, tho not a copy it has taken a page from the revivials book with some of the older cars and the family atmosphere (its on fathers days)
If I had a mountain of cash to burn, I would be shoot film for the events, but as film costs alot to buy and process it adds up. Hence why I can see you point of view with just shooting DSLR and added the effects in.
Tho I do like Larry Chen idea of shooting both, but you would have to be selective with what you shoot with film.
sean klingelhoefer start thinking about your outfit Sean... everyone else there really goes to the 9s with theirs... anything from 40s, 50s, 60s... might as well have fun with it...
Wow, at first I thought these were excellent shots made using old school methods that I am quite fond of using myself, A.K.A. low ISO with long shutter speeds to create grain, and a dirty scanner creating light spots on the pics, and even shooting on the first slide before the actual "1" on the counter in order to get a really cool light leak, but then I looked closer and noticed the spots are all in the same location, and the shots just look plain cheesy.
Shooting a DSLR and adding Apple filters with your Macbook? That's super lame, dude. -1 for mimicking the effort of using an old SLR/TLR/rangefinder and taking the easy way out with your new DSLRs and Micro 4/3s with filters applied to the shots. What has it come to when someone of "professional" grade photography is doing the equivalent of uploading a picture to instagram, adding a cheesy filter, and getting paid to do so? Some of these shots would have been exquisite without the cheesy bulls*** added. Unfortunately, it was decided that the instagram route was way easier than loading a roll of 35mm film into an old SLR, winding the film advance arm, and taking the time to take that beautiful shot, as opposed to snapping away with a DSLR, choosing the best shot of 10, and applying a stupid filter overlay in post shot.
I see you also brought your NEX-5 with you, but couldn't be hassled to carry an equal size 35mm setup and a few rolls of film instead of "this" route. I would have much preferred to see this gallery without all the theatrics of trying to look the part of old school.
Ace2cool Maybe if you spend more time shooting photos yourself instead of posting a novel on a website you'll land a professional job.
And then maybe the childish jealousy, of "I could do better" of an 8yr old won't come out.
450bill Ace2cool Never said I could do better once in that post, homie. Read it again if you got that impression. I'm just disliking the fact that he's basically making a digital mockery out of something that I love. Get it right before you pop off towards someone ;)
Ace2cool 450bill I certainly think that shooting the revival on film rather than digital would've fitted nicely with the period feel of the event. But given it's harder to get the result you're after with film without a significant amount of experience (not saying d-slr's are point and click, but limited number of shots + not being able to instantly check the results is more challenging) we could've ended up with a much shorter post.
Ace2cool I'm sorry you feel that way, but to be honest I'm a little bit confused by your post. Surely if you want film grain, you would use a high ISO film or underexpose low ISO and push it in the lab. If you wanted to bring out the grain with long shutter speeds on low ISO film, you're going to need LONG shutter speeds which without the aid of an ND filter isn't possible during bright day light, even when stopped down.
To be honest, it would have been easier for me to shoot with film and it's something I would personally have preferred to do (I started my career shooting film so I'm no stranger to the smell of developer and fix in a dark room). But, when you're shooting for a client, especially in this day and age, you can't wait to find out a couple of days later that the film hasn't come out or the lab has messed something up. It's not as if I can go back down to Goodwood and ask them if they wouldn't mind putting the show on again. No, instead you have to play it safe to a certain degree and ensure you come away with what you need. In many different ways, this was my take on the revival - a modern day homage to a great era - much like the Revival itself.
Processing modern digital images to replicate the colour and authenticity of film is not as easy as clicking a single button and admiring your handy work. First you must understand what gives film that different look, and adjust your shooting style accordingly. You then need to decide what film style you want to replicate. Do you want a warmer or cooler film? Heavy contrast or a more muted look? This was my first time editing a full set of images to give this look and feel and it took me a considerable amount of time to get it a standard I was happy with. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. Would I have done things differently if I was to do them again? Yes, and in-fact I probably will re-edit them down the line at some stage and omit the faux dust and scratches.
It's all too easy to sit behind a screen and pontificate to the world about how you would have done things. The reality is that actually going out and doing this is a much, much harder thing to do. Add sharing those images with thousands of readers, every single one of which will judge you, to that list and you might just get an idea of how difficult it can be.
FYI, my smallest 35mm camera is a '57 Russian FED rangefinder which is at least twice the size and three times the weight of an NEX5. I only have two hands.
Thanks for reading and taking your time to comment,
@PaddyMcGrathSH @Ace2cool Much respect for taking the time to type out such a long, thought out response, man. Too many people would have written this off as a perturbed guy sitting behind a computer screen throwing criticisms left and right. Again, respect. My biggest issue is that these shots are basically trying to be something that they're not, and it shows. If you're shooting a DSLR, then shoot a DSLR, bro! Same with the Micro 4/3! No need to dress the shots up to try to mimick film. Honest shots are what make a great set. That's one reason I love the work you did with the Players Show in Essex. I especially loved the long exposures in that one. As far as the film reliability though, I completely understand. That's why last week at JCCS, I took doubles of almost all my shots. One with my DSLR, and the other with my Autocord, because I know the TLR is gonna give me stupid sharp pics with awesome depth of field, and I know I'm gonna love the way the shots are gonna turn out on the particular film I'm using. Plus, I could use my 7D as a meter, and save the trouble of using a meter or trying to do it in my head. And if the film came out botched, or something went wrong, I still have my DSLR shots as backup.
I guess what this is coming down to is that it IS easy to sit behind a screen, just as you said. I do go out there, and I mainly shoot film. There have been a ton of times that I've messed something up, and lost half a set of pictures just from one little slip, like not setting the ISO correctly for the film you're using and underexposing half a roll. It's not like I don't do this too (though not on a professional level,) so "sitting and pontificating" wouldn't really be an accurate desription of my commenting. I DO know how difficult it is. I also know how easy it is to add a "light leak" or grain or even change the temperature/color of the shot in post. Granted, I don't get paid for my shots, but it's not like they're any easier to do unpaid. I would particularly love to see the shot of the Porsche steering wheel in raw form. Seems like a beautiful shot that's intruded by an overlay. This was a great set of shots, no doubt, but the fake grain and dust is basically what killed it for me. Again though, thanks for the long, thought out response and not just popping off a "Well if you could do better, why don't you?" or something to that effect. Too many people nowadays would have. Keep up the good work man. Still looking forward to my next dose of Euro speedhunters.
I was there on Saturday!Watching Anthony Reid in a Mk1 Jaguar, Rob Huff in an Austin A40, Jackie Oliver in a BMW 700 give each other a run for their money was a joy!Every modern driver should get into cars like the above and race!And all the Ferrari 250 GTO's!! Wow what an experiance!
Check out the video I whipped together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txfbd0pvAMM&list=UUIBq16nbh1EGAey_Djd96lA&index=1&feature=plcp
Hey Paddy, great photo set (as usual)!I was wondering if you could go into detail about the Lightroom/Photoshop workflow you went through for this set. It has a great vintage feel to it, but doesn't feel intentional, which is what makes the set so great.
Specifically, I like the picnic photo. Caption: "Lunch is provided by modern facilities cleverly disguised."
Anyways, any detail as far as Lightroom settings or photoshop flow you could go into would be great. I'd love to recreate that look!
Everyone reading this needs to do themselves a favor and attend, in period clothing of course... This is the best chance you have of considering your significant other to tag along if only for the period fashions.... I've now been twice with a press pass for another online publication (2009 & 2011) and have enjoyed every minute of it, be it sunny and nice (2009) or a deluge of rain and thunder (2011).
Having attended Monterey Historics religiously 16years in a row, I took a year off in 2009 from that event to go to The Revival instead and I've never looked back... The cars you of course will see at all the main historic events all over the world - it is after all the same cars that get shipped back and forth, but the access to the drivers, the airplanes, the motorcycles & scooters, and all the period touches are unique to this place!
Go go go....!
Looks sick paddy, sad to find out that the pictures were just filtered to look like film though, maybe think about shooting film for real next vintage show you cover, that could be incredible
I was going to shoot it with my rangefinder but when it came down to it, I couldn't risk coming back from the show with nothing if anything happened to the film (My rangefinder has a habit of snapping rolls of film!) so I had to take the safer option. If I ever attend it in future and I'm not commissioned for shots from it, I'll definitely be going 35mm colour slide film all the way!
PaddyMcGrathSH Love these! Do what I do, shoot both for the same shot. Use the one that came out better.
Larry Chen Not a bad thought although I'm sure I'd get bored after ten minutes and end up shooting all digital (I have no patience.)
I once got to know someone who actually ownes a Maserati 300S. Today i'm aware of this cars worth and that he's racing at Goodwood. He told me a lot about vintage car racing at this level - you have to remember: Goodwood isn't about some guys in old Triumphs or Alfa GT's racing on a circuit. It's about celebrating centuries of automotives holy grail. These guys race and literally trash the fastest and most exclusive cars that have ever rolled on earth! They have money. A lot of it. The above mentioned man had to rebuild several cars worth alone millions "just" because of "having missed the Apex" ... it's a different world. But still - i love it so so much! It's very British indeed ...
Paddy you really nailed it! Please let there be hundreds of additional images! That Porsche steering-wheel .. extraordinary!
Can someone please tell what car the silver racecar with the number 1 on the back is, dying to know!
PaddyMcGrathSH o and btw, that shot of the maserati is absolutely gorgeous. On my desktop and can't stop staring, thanks again
good job capturing "l'atmosphere". i like the porsche steering wheel shot especially. and what is that wicked looking red thing in shot 7?
PaddyMcGrathSH D1RGE EXE to true there, legislation killed car desgin; oh if we could return to that
Paterson Photo He used some filter or overlay. Many of the pictures have the same specks in the same spots.
Did you and Jonathan dress in the appropriate attire for the weekend, no picture published i see.
I like the sign, do they preach that in church
roeby We attended on different days but we of course ensured to dress for the occasion :-)
My 92y/o Grandad told me of the tweed. So a reliable source!
and what the fook is hounds tooth wall? How old are you Rod?