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The art of the cornering shot

3 months ago

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Colin Goodwin | Journalist


3 April 2024

Car photography was particularly exciting in the film era. You’d see the photographer or a courier arrive at the office with the rolls of developed film from the photoshoot. They’d go up to the art department where one of the magazine’s designers would unwrap the sheets of transparencies and start looking at them on the light box with a magnifying glass.

The dilemma for journalists was how long we waited before sneaking a look at the photographs ourselves. We weren’t particularly excited about the results of the carefully choreographed opening shot, for which we’d hung around half the night. No, what we were hopping from foot to foot busting to see, like a toddler needing the loo but reluctant to ask, was The Cornering Shot.

You would assume, and rightly so, that there’s a fair amount of machismo around this profession. There certainly is when you’re young. But far more important than how much faster you could lap Brands Hatch than your colleagues was how good you were at cornering shots. Photographs of cars going around corners can be rather boring but nothing livens things up more than a bit of body lean and a touch of opposite lock – known at Autocar by Sutcliffe, Harris and me as a ‘dab of oppo’. And it wasn’t just the young guns who became obsessed with bagging a great cornering shot; the grown-ups were equally driven.

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