In our last installment, we brought you Part 1 of our interview with Jonathan Szczupak, auto designer for Ford and photographer of fine car prints. As an Instagrammer, he takes some seriously dangerous and gritty photograph that still remain elegant at the same time. He stands as a testament to how gasoline culture is all about the mixing of storied lore and practical speed.
Well, we’re not finished yet here at Rear View Prints. In Part 2 of our interview with Jonathan, we dive into how he chooses his subjects, his thoughts on gasoline culture, and more.
For your photography and car prints, how do you choose your subjects and angles?
I like telling stories! So picking the right subjects and angles is the most critical part of story telling. I search for variety at an event, looking for things that help tell the story. It’s not just about the cars, the people are so much fun to watch too. They make the pictures feel real and I am not a huge fan of still life staged photography. I try to put myself in different positions and vantage points to frame the car in a unique way and I love the feeling of motion. Trying to capture the speed with my panning shots but then in the same split second I like to freeze that motion, to capture that special moment.
Most photographers try to isolate the car and cut out the noise, I used to do that when I was just starting out, now I use the people and the noise to frame and capture the moment. It might sound cheesy, but at the end of the day I want to inspire people to attend these events and get interested in classic racing. Not enough millennials are taking interest in classics and I would love to think I can help change that. However with all that being said, I would be lying if I said I didn’t stop and take a picture of every Ford GT40, Mini and Alfa GT junior I come across. It has to get personal on some level and when you shoot a lot of your favorite things, you have to get creative with the angles.
Speaking of more personal: what was your first camera model and your first car?
I have no idea what my first real camera was, I was never this addicted to photography when I started out. It’s something that has grown over time. My first real proper photography was a Canon Rebel with a standard kit lens. It was a great starter camera and I have been a Canon guy ever since.
My first car on the other hand is a very memorable story. It was all fun from the get go. I had a candy red Mustang convertible, v8 with all the bells and whistles. Needless to say growing up in England before moving to Detroit this was an unexpected first car! I had never even seen one in England. It was a lot of fun, probably too much fun! The Ford Mustang still holds a special place in my heart and working at Ford and then getting to work on the 2015 was a fantastic opportunity! Kid’s dream come true.
Gasoline culture, what do you love best about it?
I am in love with the variety that comes with our culture. I have always said it’s the people not the cars that makes this culture. Everyone has their own tastes and desires.
From new to old, there is something for every walk of life. This all culminates at events like Goodwood FOS or even your local "cars & coffee."
They have everything imaginable out on display and people come from all over to experience it. This idea of sharing history and preserving history is also something that brings people together. It’s the basic premise for brands like, it’s about reminding people of the past and the present, letting them share it with friends and growing our culture. I am super excited to see young people get involved and interested in classic racing/cars. Hopefully I can help spread that passion with my stories and images and we will see it continue to grow.
Your camera captures the world between the white lines, what do you believe your camera captures about you?
Wow now that’s tricky one… as I keep saying, I like to inspire. I think the camera captures my desire to inspire. I want my work to move people and for it to be emotional, I want them to go out and buy a classic car or attend a race. At the bottom of it all is we are surrounded by some pretty terrible photography and media, I want to be a positive change within the industry. A fresh take. I like to think of it as curating the best of our culture.
What are your favorite aspects of being an automotive designer?
Getting to create is every little kid’s dream, right? Drawing cars for a living seems absurd and sometimes I can’t believe someone pays me to do this. It’s great fun. However, my favorite aspect of my day job is the advanced design side of things. We need to think way beyond today and think into the future. Making predictions on trends, watching population shifts, anticipating what new features and styles our customers might need.
Most people don’t know what they want until they see it. I think it was Henry Ford that said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” So we are constantly experimenting and exploring. It’s bloody hard some times, but very rewarding when we get it right. It’s not your average desk job that’s for sure.
Well, we certainly appreciate all you do, both at Ford and at your website and Instagram. And really, this has been an awesome interview, and we’re sure our audience can’t thank you enough. We definitely have fun!
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