Brooklands Museum has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help towards their aim of re-engineering Brooklands. This involves moving the Bellman Hangar, which is currently located on the Finishing Straight of the Motor Racing Circuit, off of the circuit and reinterpreting it as the aircraft factory.
It was suggested to me by the museum that it would be good to have before and after photographs of the hangar shot in a similar vein to the night shots that formed part of my Spirit Of Brooklands Project and book. Never one to shy away from standing alone in the dark I took up the challenge and here is the final image, with the Finishing Straight in the foreground.
It will be a while before the hangar is moved but when it is I’ll be back, so to speak.
I am delighted to announce that I have managed to produce a book about my Brooklands project. The book is available as a hard back book with a dust cover, and contains all the images from my web site plus some previously unpublished shots, along with details and anecdotes about the project. The book is available from Blurb, the print in demand publisher, and is also available as an ebook. The retail price for the printed book is £59.95 plus shipping, but Blurb are offering various discounts in the run up to Christmas (currently 30%). I have also acquired a limited number of books at a reduced rate (£39.95) and have made them available to order through my web site. Stocks are limited so when they’re gone they’re gone!
What with moving house (and wondering if the people in that industry really know what they’re doing), organising my first major solo exhibition, and coping with work it’s been a busy time. The exhibition was at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge and was of my night photographs of the Brooklands race track, which was a great place to have it. I received some tremendous feedback including from people who wouldn’t normally visit art galleries.
Some of the prints can be seen again at the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair in the Windsor Race Course Grandstand on November 9th and 10th, so if you’re interested get in touch as I have some 2 for 1 tickets available. It’s usually a very laid back affair with some fabulous art on display.
Also the BBC have featured The Spirit of Brooklands on their website, and not to be outdone, Top Gear have also run a feature. It’s amazing what appearing on the BBC does for hits to your website!
I’ll be posting some new work soon so it will seem like feast or famine when it comes to my blog posts!
It’s been a good first couple of weeks for the exhibition at Brooklands Museum, with my prints being enthusiastically received. Many of the comments have mentioned how peaceful and serene the images look, and how they capture the very essence of their time.
There were some enthusiastic cadets who decided that they wanted to challenge themselves by pulling a car (with driver) up the Brooklands Test Hill, which gets gradually steeper before reaching 1 in 4 at the top!
A week or so later was the Henry Surtees Foundation Brooklands Team Challenge, which saw several teams enter a 2 hour endurance Go-Kart race around the Mercedes Benz world Test track. Just prior to the race the museum started up their Napier Railton and gave it a run round the test track. The Napier Railton is fitted with a 24 Litre Aero engine which has a rated BHP of 530! Oh and it weighs just over 2 tons, and occasionally needs to be bump started!! I’d like to see the cadets try and put that up the Test Hill!
Once the Go-Kart race got under way I was struck again by the noise that went on during the testing and racing of all these motor vehicles, and thought back to the night when I took this shot of the Campbell Circuit which runs alongside the Mercedes Benz Test track, and the mood that visitors have commented that my images convey. It felt like a different world.
I’m very excited to announce that the Spirit of Brooklands project is is being exhibited at Brooklands Museum, officially opening this Saturday (June 15th) to coincide with the biggest event in the museum’s calendar, the annual Double Twelve weekend. There will be a number of the prints on display in the art gallery in the Clubhouse, all of which are for sale with 30% of the takings being donated to the museum.
It’s a great day out, especially if you have kids. They have the first Concorde ever to travel at Mach 2 in the museum and trips aboard can be booked, which is worth doing. They also have the old scale model Concorde that used to sit on the roundabout on the way in to Heathrow Airport, now sitting at the entrance to Brooklands Museum and Mercedes Benz World.
The exhibition runs for 6 weeks, so there’s plenty of time to head down there and check it out!
I’m very excited to announce that the Association of Photographers (AOP) will be showing my Spirit of Brooklands project as part of it’s online series of members exhibitions. The exhibition will run from May 9th until June 5th and further details can be found at the AOP site.
The AOP have chosen this image of the Clubhouse as the lead image for the promotion, and it was actually the last image that I photographed in the entire series, thanks to a nudge from the editor of the Brooklands Trust Magazine! I quite like the way the lights and stairs look like the headlights and grill on the front of a car.
Things have been a bit quiet on the blog lately but that doesn’t mean I have. In November I am taking part in the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair at Windsor Race Course (http://www.windsorcontemporaryartfair.co.uk), and will be showing for the first time some of the Brooklands night shots, as well as some other prints from the archive. There will be a couple of 44″ prints from Brooklands, which I must say do look really quite impressive!
The Private View is on Friday November 9th from 6-9pm and the show is open to the public from 10am – 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, and on the Sunday there is a wine fair “running” at the race course too. Get in touch if you want an invite to the Private View (this also gives you half price entry on the other days).
Near where I live is Brooklands, the worlds first ever purpose built motor racing track, and the scene of the first British Grand Prix. During it’s time many land speed records were broken there, and Brooklands became a major centre for automotive technology and development. Opened in 1907 with the remit to enable cars to drive at speeds of 100 miles per hour and above, one of it’s key features was that the track had to be banked. The total length of the track was 3.25 miles (including the finishing straight), and a significant proportion of the course consisted of concrete banking.
The final race took place in 1939 at the outset of the Second World War, as due to damage caused by bombing and trying to disguise the track from the air during the war, it became too expensive to repair it. Actually one more race did take place in 2009 when James May created a Scalextric track around the original course for his Toy Stories TV programme, and had a race between two teams. (You can find a video of the actual race on youtube.com).
There has been significant redevelopment of the site since the war but a large amount of the banking still remains. The Spirit of Brooklands is a project that I undertook with the help of Brooklands Museum (well worth a visit if you are at all interested in cars, bikes, planes or history – http://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/), to document the remains of the circuit, and areas where the track has been removed but there has been an acknowledgment of its existence.
In its heyday Brooklands was a buzzing noisy place, with cars rattling over concrete at speeds of up to 143.44 mph (the course record), and as many as 287,000 spectators cheering on the drivers. To contrast with this I chose to shoot the project at night during very still weather conditions to give a peaceful, surreal feel to the images. The project took four years to complete, and I have just added the resulting images to my web site www.douglaskurn.com.