Famed motorsports photographer Darren Heath talks cameras, Formula One, and what’s in a great shot


posted Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM EST

In the fast-paced world of Formula One motor racing, some names command instant respect. Senna, Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Schumacher, Mansell... their names and achievements roll off the tongue of any die-hard fan. Among photographers, though, the racers aren't the only celebrities in Formula One. Names like Bernard Cahier, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Darren Heath and Keith Sutton are, for photography fans, every bit as recognizable for their achievements -- and for good reason.

These men and their cameras provide a vital link between the fans and their sport. Every two weeks or so for most of the year they travel around the world, seeking to record history in the making. It is through their eyes that we've seen so many of Formula One's defining moments, splashed across newspapers and magazines the world over. And somehow, week in and week out, they manage to pack those photos with action, color and excitement, even though they're continually faced with the same roster of subjects: teams, cars, drivers, testosterone, tarmac and tire smoke. The imagery can be downright beautiful, even if you're not passionate about motorsports.

Mercedes F1 W03, Abu Dhabi 2012, by Darren Heath. Used by permission.

For fans of motorsports and photography, we look up to these names as we do to those of the racing greats. When we attend races ourselves, cameras in hand, theirs are the artworks against which we judge our own. And as we pore over glossy racing magazines, we mentally file away ideas for shots we'd like to emulate ourselves.

It's not often that we get the chance to learn from them directly, but videographer Mario Muth of Shakefree Films has afforded us that rare opportunity. Mario spent a couple of hours with motorsport photographer Darren Heath, learning about his interests in photography and motorsport, and how he's combined the two into an award-winning career. Darren discusses the vision behind his photos, and of course, talks about the gear he uses to capture them.

Videographer Mario Muth recently spent a couple of hours filming an interview with Darren Heath at his London home. The resulting documentary, "Darren Heath -- What it means to me," is a must-see for fans of motorsports and great photography.

The result is the interesting 44-minute documentary that's a must-see for anybody hoping to make a career of their own in motorsports photography, or just to learn what goes into making a really great racing photo.

Want to see more of Darren's work? Visit his website, which is jam-packed not only with gorgeous photos, but also with behind-the-scenes info on the sport in his race blog. And if you've enjoyed the documentary, you can also find more of Mario's videos on his Vimeo page.

E.Irvine, Valencia test 2002, by Darren Heath. Used by permission.

(via James Allen on F1)