As I sit here typing up this post I can’t help but look back at this year with a fair amount of shock at the way it passed by with blistering pace. Time is of course concrete in our human definition, yet entirely fluid in our brain’s ability to recollect it. It seems like only yesterday I was visiting Sweden, yet those were summer days and half a year has transpired since I visited the place.
With December now upon us, it’s time to look back on the year to reflect before moving into new territory in 2013. While digging through my own archives, which have grown exponentially since hopping on board at Speedhunters, I stumbled upon an unseen gem that I had very nearly forgotten about entirely.
With the amount of work I’m doing these days it doesn’t leave much personal time for me to go out and enjoy the simpler things in life, so when a friend of mine offered to locate an exotic for me to shoot in Stockholm I jumped on the opportunity. As much as I love what I do for a living, there’s something that comes with the territory and deadlines that adds a certain pressure.
Most of the time this pressure can be leveraged into productivity, but often it’s a burden that one could interpret as a creativity – and somtimes fun – killer. Having an entire afternoon to myself with no real mission in mind, I met up with my friend and fellow photographer Dan and we set off towards Stockholm’s 13th-century old town, Gamla Stan, where we were to meet up with Steffen, the owner of a very special car.
Not surprisingly, I heard the wail of the V8 echoing off the cobblestone roads and ancient buildings long before I ever caught a glimpse of the prancing pony. But all you need is a small blip of the unmistakable engine note to realize you’re in the presence of an Italia. All it took was that sound to get my heart pumping.
Prior to this I had seen at least two dozen road versions of the four-five-eight, almost that many more in racing guise and even sat inside one; but I never had the opportunity to properly photograph one until now. Once the car was parked the man driving it jumped out and introduced himself, a very tall and equally kind German fellow who seemed to be about as eager as I was for the shoot to commence. It was going to be a good day.
For an American, someone who lives in a country that is less than 250 years old, you have to remember that the location itself was just as exotic as the car, if not more so. While I was setting up my gear I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t in a dream! Not only was the location intriguing, but it was actually quite good looking – the car and the city would spend the rest of the day competing for my attention.
Obviously the car isn’t exactly a slouch in the looks department either, which is a nice change from its mundane predecessors. I might take some heat for this, but I don’t think there has been a good looking “sporty” Ferrari (think lightweight, MR etc) in quite some time. Actually I haven’t liked much since the F50 if I’m honest, that was until the Italia came along. Its radical curves are something that have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Something this extreme is great fun for a photographer because you have to be very careful at how you align these shapes in a frame. Like most supermodels, from the right angles the car car is drop dead gorgeous, but if you’re not careful you can wind up with a mutant on your hands. Luckily the Italia has far more “good sides” than it does bad ones.
Even the engine is a work of art, if a simple one. The thing I’ve always appreciated about Ferrari is the way they place importance on design and performance but take special care not to come off as cheesy or overdone. Sure there might not be any carbon or polished stainless, but there’s something to be said for understated performance.
Besides, I think we can all agree that the exterior of the car is loud enough to do all the talking.
Amusingly enough, the most extravagant part of the car is actually the interior. It seems as though this is where the engineers really cut loose with carbon fiber trim accents and double-stitched paneling, lest we forget the famous “Manettino switch” on the steering wheel.
Yes the cockpit is quite an extreme environment to find yourself placed in, but one that is still somehow very well refined. There is nothing about the setup that negates creature comforts and you don’t find yourself thinking “okay, I’m in a serious race car” like the performance numbers of the 458 might indicate.
As with most modern supercars, Ferrari’s offerings are also packed with the very latest infotainment systems on the market which aim to make your drive more pleasurable. Front and center is the tachometer, right where you’d expect it to be in such a vehicle, and on either side of that binnacle are additional screens capable of displaying virtually every parameter you could possibly imagine.
After taking a ride through the miserably bumpy streets of Gamla Stan, I have to admit the car was shockingly comfortable. More so in fact than the BMW 3-series which I was chauffeured to the location in. That probably has more to do with the sophisticated magneto rheological electronic suspension than anything, but I digress.
I continued to shoot without putting too much thought into the process, I just let the car and the city speak to me. I was after all, just a tourist and these are simply what a Speedhunter’s version of travel photos look like. In that sense when I looked back on these images I found they had a certain candid feel to them that isn’t typical of my work, which makes sense as these weren’t shot with the intent of ever being shown to anyone.
I suppose this post could even be viewed as an extended “cutting room floor,” a series comprised entirely of out takes. I guess the lesson I’ve learned here, if there was one to learn in the first place, it’s that even when I’m not on the clock, I’m a Speedhunter through and through. It’s something deeply engrained in my DNA, something I cannot (nor do I wish to) escape. This time, I don’t think I’ll forget.
Very cool to see a fresh pov from someone that hasn´t been to Sthlm that many times. Old town is quite the place, with it´s narrow streets and cobblestone. I shot a few frames in old town and it has a special atmosphere for sure.
I like your first and your last frames the best, they catch my view of Sthlm in a very good way. Good stuff!
Just look at those buildings!
The oldest-looking place here in Los Angeles is probably a McDonalds or something, haha
@LouisYio How is it possible to have respect for others' history, yet not have any respect for your own?
@LaurentOtt je vous remercie! J'ai beaucoup d'autres histoires - http://www.speedhunters.com/category/speedhunterscrew/photojournalists/seanklingelhoefer/
Absolutely fantastic shots, Sean! Really makes the car come alive. I just want to jump into that cockpit and blast off down an arrow-straight highway to feel the Ferrari's speed!
P1 Race Photography My apologies, I genuinely had no idea that word was offensive.
sean klingelhoefer That's OK. I didn't think you did. You seem like a really nice guy, Sean, hence the surprise. I don't know about the US, but in the UK and Australia (where I'm from) it's a derogatory word that has, in the past, been used to describe people with Down's Syndrome. I guess it's hard working in a global environment to avoid offence. Just ask car makers! Calling your car a wanker in Spanish and a toilet seat in Japanese never goes down well.
@P1 Race Photography ya I googled it and felt quite embarrassed! I do think it's probably more offensive in some areas than others as you've said, but the last thing I meant to do was to upset anyone!
Beautiful photographs Sean, really beautiful. Really like the colour palette, it does a great job of both combining and contrasting the car and scenery (ha, check me out, I almost sounded like I knew what I was on about there! lol).
I love the idea of these being your "travel photos" and that you genuinely get your kicks from what you do. I had a similar thing when I travelled to Vegas last year (I'm a UK resident), the Girlfriend kept saying "stop taking pictures of cars! You do that at home all the time!".... I do, but that's not the point, I don't have American Muscle cars on the Vegas strip in Sheffield! I HAD to take the pictures, right there and in that moment.
Robo_No1 Thank you kindly! To me there's nothing that adds a little excitement to foreign travels like doing some car spotting lol. Particularly in Japan, it's very good fun! Nice to hear I'm not the only one with this "problem" ;)
@Sean klingelhoefer No man your not the only one! Your amongst friends here, It's a safe place Sean we can admit to it lol! I'd love a trip to Japan one day, I've got a hell of a lot more of the states to see first though!
The interior.....mother of god. I don't think i'd change a thing if I were to a order a 458 this very moment.
Beautiful photo's, and a beautiful location.
the closeup shot of the rear right quarter is my favourite there.
I think its amazing how devoid those shots are of the usual 'city' things. garbage, parking meters, signage, posters, graffiti, road markings, etc.
It almost looks like a created set, or something someone has modelled as a CG backdrop. Its so odd.. its too perfect..!
On the topic of pretty Ferrari's - the 355 was my favourite 'recent' Ferrari, but am so happy with the 458.
RdS2 Strangely the rear quarter shot is one of my favorites too, the car just looks stunning from that angle! In regards to the location, Stockholm in general is absurdly clean for a large city, but the "old town" part is even more so. I forget why it was so dead when we were there, but the locals were expecting a ton of tourists while we were shooting but we only encountered maybe two dozen people the whole time. It was seriously like a dream shooting scenario!
Great photos, Sean. This is all I ever ask of you lol, but could I/we have a desktop of the last pic? I legitimately think that the last one is the best picture of the whole piece. Please?
Best 458 italia shots I've ever seen ( and I've seen a lot as I'm in love with that car). Keep it up.
"Actually I haven’t liked much since the F50 if I’m honest, that was until the Italia came along" id have to agree with you on that! BUT saying that im not too keen on F12 and FF at certain angles...especially the front!
please give some more supercars the speedhunters treatment!!!
I know Ferrari doesn't fuck around when it builds cars, but is the a-pillar, roof out of dry carbon? In the pictures it seems so, but it looks also awfully vinyl tape, please tell me I'm wrong.
Chris Nuggets JDMized Ya I'm pretty sure the owner put some sort of wrap on the roof. To each their own.
sean klingelhoefer Chris Nuggets JDMized i have seen a few of these with the blacked out roof, most were just a black wrap which i think looks less gaudy than faux carbon, i mean surely its got enough to not warrant some cheesy wrap
Sean. You have my highest respect. I've never seen this car being photograhped this way. I know about the stats and it's objective performance but you managed to extract details that the regular press photography (if you can call it that way since it's mostly CGI) simply doesn't. It's the air intaktes. Flares, holes .. everything. Your focus is different to the common appreciation which makes this so special. Being able to display something as commonly known as a Ferrari in a different way is nothing but art. Thank you. And: You can't argue with Stockholm ;)
maxproof Max you're way too kind! I'm glad to see these being received so well - to think when I first shot them I was unsure if they were any good or not!
Seriously good work Sean, these photos are excellent, and I agree, seeing this car in person is an entirely different experience. Oh the things I would do to just be able to sit in one and give it a rev to 9k.
I love cars with simple focused cockpit interiors like this.
andrewhake Hopefully Ferrari will one day become a friend of mine and loan me one of these bad boys to do a dream drive on!
i must preface this critique of ferrari design by saying that all of this is obviously opinion, i am not a trained designer and neither am i a very talented amateur. therefore all of the following is simply basic preference
Anyway for me, the designs of most Ferraris went downhill when someone told them how "cool" it'd be if the engine was visible under the rear window. The 360 modena was a car I hated very much at the time, mostly because of the engine but also because the 355 was perfect and I felt that the change was not a good one. Now, I find the 360 to be an entirely agreeable design, save for the stupid glass engine cover. There's nothing really wrong with the car, and it is classically simple, which means that it will just get better with age, unlike the 430, which looked retarded when new and looks retarded now. The 430 never looked like anything except a 360 with an exceptionally terrible bodykit, and unlike the 360, I've never come around to its looks by accepting that ferrari was going to keep the glass engine covers forever probably.
Then came the 458, and though I once again had to ignore the stupid engine being stupidly visible because of stupid reasons, the rest of the car actually looks quite good. Most importantly, though, the 458 spyder actually ditched the glass, finally, while also slightly hinting back to the origin of this entire model range, with six little vents straight off a dino. It also looks quite nice with its metal roof up, and since i'm not a track enthusiast, the loss of rigidity means little to me, such that I can actually entirely like and want an entry-level ferrari for the first time since the 355.
Unfortunately they followed this up by giving the F12 a diagram of the female reproductive system to show to drivers behind it, so clearly pininfarina is still designing things unworthy of the name pininfarina. I've not got much hopw for the enzo replacement, since that car is likely to be highly aero-dependent and therefore style won't be a priority (i found the enzo to be awful but for the same reason it's sort of excused. The 430, with its ugly enzo stolen design traits, gets no such free pass, not while 360 CS exist in the world, and definitely not while you can still maybe find a gallardo with the old slatted engine cover) The 599 was alright, but not better than the 575, which itself was worse than the 550
but none of this means anything to anyone in the real world, because i'm mainly a classic enthusiast and I think the best looking ferrari these days is a 365 GTB/4 with the flip up headlamps, now that the S1 250 GTO has nearly finished the process of apotheosis and is barely a real thing anymore
ComJive I kind of see your point, I really loved the 456GT myself and it would be a perfect car for me in a perfect world. Also, nice cars like 512TR have that "je ne sais quoi" thing that newer Ferraris will never have: mid engine with flat covers, flip up headlights, open gate manual gearboxes, power to kill you if not carefull....We can only dream about old cars, here, on speedhunter.
PS - @speedhunters - When we can have some old school european cars coverage? Ferrari 365GTB, Merceds 600 Pullman, BMW 507, Porsche 356, Horsch, Duesemberg, Citroen DS, 2CV, Renault 4, 16? We love those cars and I bet that japanese readers, or even american reader cant know about them. See ya!
One of the Most epic Photoshoots i've ever seen... and i take pictures... this was very veeeerrrryyy good... i have the first one as the desktop right now... Perfect Job man!!!