“Formula 1 in Camera” review

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The Formula 1 in Camera series spans four books, each of which features a decade of Formula 1 photographs.

The first two books cover the fifties and sixties and feature pictures from a range of sources – mostly the LAT archive but also some lesser-known agencies.

The two books on the seventies and eighties use a selection of photographs by Rainer Schlegelmilch. While those in the earlier books are very good, some of Schlegelmilch’s pictures really are a cut above.

Some of his best and most famous pictures are here, including the iconic shot of Stefan Johansson’s flame-belching Ferrari at Monaco in 1985.

There are many other less well-known but similarly dramatic shots. Another one also shows Johansson, this time in a McLaren in 1987, doused in sparks by the leading Brabham of Andrea de Cesaris.

The images have been chosen with an eye not just for the spectacular, but also the revealing and sometimes amusing as well.

One picture which gives a revealing glimpse of how F1 has changed by shows Wilson Fittipaldi in the 1972 Austrian Grand Prix speeding past a bright yellow hoarding advertising “sex shops”.

Others are more poignant – such as the mobile Grand Prix Medical Unit pictured at Monza in 1970 bearing a list of patrons including Jochen Rindt, who lost his life that weekend.

Throughout all the books, the editors have done fine work in ensuring the range of pictures goes beyond the usual crowd-pleasing subjects of Ferrari, McLaren and other front runners. Many of the more obscure entries can be found here and not just in the more recent books.

They’ve been thoughtfully laid-out as well, with extra space given over to the best photographs without letting the fold of the page get in the way.

Inevitably the 1950-59 book is largely made up of black-and-white photography, but also has some striking colour pictures.

All four books offer a generous selection of images to feast your eyes on. At ??35 a pop they’re not cheap, but they make a superb photographic record of each period and will be my first port of call whenever I’m looking for a picture of a particular F1 car.

Book Rating Buy
Formula 1 in Camera 1950-59 Rating four out of five Buy (UK) Buy (USA)
Formula 1 in Camera 1960-69 Rating four out of five Buy (UK) Buy (USA)
Formula 1 in Camera 1970-79 Rating four out of five Buy (UK) Buy (USA)
Formula 1 in Camera 1980-89 Rating four out of five Buy (UK) Buy (USA)

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11 comments on “Formula 1 in Camera” review

  1. mphipps (@mphipps) said on 4th March 2012, 13:51

    I had never seen that amazing pic of Stefan Johansson before – incredible image that is not my laptop background. Pity my birthday has just passed as the book featuring that pic would have definitely been on my pressie list ! Thanks for drawing attention to them.

  2. sennaboy3 (@sennaboy3) said on 4th March 2012, 14:01

    For my money Schlegelmilch is right up there with some of top F1 photographers of all time, Jesse Alexander & Cahier (father & son)…What a bore most of today’s F1 photographers are compared to these men!!

    Keith, have you got a copy of Jesse Alexander’s ‘At Speed’? This is probably the greatest photo book I own…truly devastating. Iconic images throughout.

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 4th March 2012, 14:01

    That Stefan Johansson pic is a beaut. Never seen it before.

  4. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 4th March 2012, 14:05

    I have the F1 1950s/60s/70s/80s and 1960s Sports Car editions of these and they are truly fantastic books. I love them to pieces. I think I prefere the 1970s one of all of them, just because it was when F1 technology and camera tech was at a point where the spectacle was able to be caught at its best, some of the pictures are just unreal! Theres a 2nd 1970s one coming later in the year and I cant wait for that.

    Keith, i havent paid more then £22 for them and thats Amazon prices, so most readers of this review should ignore the £35 RRP

  5. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 4th March 2012, 15:22

    I have the 70s and 80s editions of this, as well as a 60s Sports Car one and the BTCC one(which isn’t great). The rest however are stunning, can’t recommend them enough. The 80s copy spent many months in the downstairs loo, and doubled the amount of time I spent in there!

  6. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th March 2012, 16:18

    Thanks for the review Keith.

  7. TimG (@timg) said on 4th March 2012, 17:05

    I’ve got a couple of these and they’re among my favourites – the photos are good, the captions are generally accurate and informative (unlike those at last year’s Shlegelmilch exhibition, which were unhelpful) and the text gives a decent bit of context.

    Amazon has a second volume of 1970s photos – but no publication date yet.

  8. xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 4th March 2012, 17:57

    Discovered these books last year and already got the 60s and 70s editions. Love them, great photos, informative captions, definitely going to pick up the other two, and hopefully the 90s version if they ever make it.

  9. sato113 (@sato113) said on 4th March 2012, 18:45

    what corner is the johannsen pic taken at? anthony nodges?

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