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is available as a hard back book with a dust cover, and contains all the images from my web site plus some previously unpublished shots, along with details and anecdotes about the project.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!
Another of my actor projects saw us in Peckham working with Michael who took on the role of an Urban Soldier, living on the woods and heading in to the city to fight the powers of evil.
It was a horribly cold and wet night, but Michael was a true professional and stood there in a t-shirt looking like you wouldn’t mess with him, although as Michael put it himself “a black guy, at night, in Peckham, with a gun, is kinda asking for trouble”! Luckily none came and we managed to get these fab shots.
Special thanks to my assistants Oli and Tim for braving the elements and for wading through the mud keeping the lights covered from the rain.
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.
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.
As you may know I have been working on a project which involves night photography (more about this soon) and once everything is set-up (which takes a while in the dark), this usually involves very long exposure times. I am often asked what I do during these protracted periods of time. Well you can see below that I behave like a tourist and have my photo taken with attractions like Concorde: