Dean O'Brien's Blog

Silverstone MotoGP Practice Day: The people were more interesting than the bikes..

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Well I normally look forward to this event each year as I get to see Valentino Rossi strut his stuff on the track in front of his large UK following. However, due to a broken leg he would not be racing today. This would not stop me attending though. In all honesty I wanted to go and photograph the people attending the event. To practise my candid street style photography and document the event in a different way to say a ‘bike magazine’.

Only in Britain could I be leaving the house with an umbrella in one hand and sun tan lotion in the other. I was still determined to ride to the event so after a quick blast down the M1 under a grey sky I arrived in good time. First stop I head for a food stall of which there were plenty. ‘I’ll have a tea please’ I shout. ‘That’ll be £1.70 but I’ve got no milk or sugar’. The first day of this three day event and a food stall has no milk or sugar for the tea they are selling. It just sums up the state of Britain to me at the moment. However true to form, ‘I vote with my feet’ and go elsewhere.

People watching has always been a great past time of mine and at events like this you are spoilt for choice. The number ’46’ was everywhere (Valentino Rossi’s race number). You name it they were selling it. Jackets, bags, towels, umbrellas…People even had it shaved into their hair. The closest I got was managing to sign a massive card which they had on display at the circuit for him.

The Brits seem to be obsessed with food, drink and fags at any event. Its part of the British culture. I’m sure Martin Parr would have been in his element here. Women covered in tacky tattoos and old enough to know better. Fat kids eating burgers whilst grown men cough their guts up whilst smoking. Aaah…such irony alive and well (well only just). Prosthetic arms and legs ‘were a plenty’ on many of the attendees at the event. A stark reminder of the dangers of riding on two wheels.

I couldn’t help but feel that I was starting to become a lot more confident shooting in this way. Looking at the previous work of people such as Elliott Erwitt and Cartier-Bresson has been a big driving force in me starting to develop my work in this field of photography. Also the work of more modern day photographers such as Simon Roberts and Martin Parr has given me a real boost of inspiration. I find myself looking at the more smaller details in things. The hands, the feet, something hanging out of a pocket…Yes, pre-visualisation at its finest.


Written by Dean O'Brien

June 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

One Response

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  1. Hello Dean I like this photo
    out of all the other Silverstone images. I think this is because of the expression on the women face slightly turned away from camera and the shallow depth of field.

    I can see the influence of Martin Parr in Wedding Photography today with close up photos of wedding rings.

    I use to love Henri Cartier Bresson but then one day I just stopped loving his work. I think I know why but I will articulate
    that at a later date.

    I remember going to a focus on imaging years ago and the drinks and food were overpriced but horrible too. It’s the same at all conventions.

    Chris Alford

    January 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm

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