This article is a tribute to the photojournalist Bernard Cahier, the greatest Formula 1 photographer known as the “Cartier-Bresson of Motor Racing” for his great ability in capturing the right moment. Here, I’ll feature a series of photos that I took at the Monza Grand Prix with a timeless black and white film! Take a look after the jump!
The French photojournalist Bernard Cahier (1927–2008) was the most important Formula 1 photographer. Due to his ability to capture the “decisive moment” in a car race, he became known as the “Cartier-Bresson of Motor Racing.” He took photos of great F1 drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, and Graham Hill.
When Cahier was only five years old, his father, a soldier, took him to see the 1932 Marseille Grand Prix. When he was 17 years old, he joined the resistance in Brittany during the World War II. When the hostilities ceased, he worked in mine-clearing operations in France and Germany. After one year in the French colony of Cameroon, he moved to Los Angeles to study at the University of California.
In California he met and married Joan Updike and began to work as a sports car salesman at International Motors, selling European sports cars to the Americans. From there he acquired his passion for the world of motor racing and decided to closely follow this world as a photojournalist.
In 1952 he made his first F1 coverage at the Monza Grand Prix. In the years that followed, he developed strong friendships with many drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. In 1968 he became one of the founding members of the International Racing Press Association (IRPA) and was a leading figure in F1 until the ’80s.
In 1965, he shared his passion with his son Paul-Henri (who was 13 years old at the time) by giving him a Pentax camera and inviting him to discover the world of racing. Today, his son continues to be a professional in motor racing circuits all over the world.
This is the official website of Bernard and Paul-Henri, where you can find their archive, biography, and some interesting news about the equipment they used.
All these photos were taken at Monza – from the entrance of the fans, the practice sections, the racing categories GP3, GP2, GT, and finally, the F1. The last series of photos shows crowd leaving the motordrome.
A Salute to the Masters is a series dedicated to great photographers that I like. I posted other tributes for Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Ernst Haas, Stephen Shore, Gabriele Basilico, Robert Adams, Thomas Struth, J.H. Lartigue, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Gianni Berengo Gardin, André Kertész, Willy Ronis, Brassaï, Rodchenko, Dan Graham, Henry Grant, William Eggleston, Dennis Stock, Juergen Teller, Martin Parr, Peter Mitchell, Mario Giacomelli, David Burnett, Michael Williamson and Izis Bidermanas. I especially love street photography and urban architectural photography.