You’ve probably noticed that at Rear View prints we spend a good deal of time diving into gasoline culture. Whether it’s sharing some amazing car-obsessed Instagrammers with you or showing off auto art and car prints from around the web, we want to connect you to this impressive community.
And there’s one Instagrammer that cuts across all of these areas. He also has an account (and website) that’s totally worth checking out. Jonathan Szczupak has been on our radar for some time here at Rear View Prints. As a design manager at Ford, he’s responsible for those incredibly sleek automobile designs you see out there. But as a photographer, he also captures some outstanding vehicles from a truly unique perspective. (You can also buy his car prints right from his site too).
In this 2-part interview, we’re tapping into the mind of this experienced industry veteran to learn what fuels his ride.
You’ve mentioned that your connection to the world of cars spans generations, from your grandfather to your father to you. Tell us about where it all started for you.
Without my Father and Grandfather’s love for cars I wouldn’t be the car nut I am today. The connection I have to the world of cars started very young when we would visit my grandparents on the weekends. My grandfather had a car repair shop in Sheffield, England. It was a small place located behind their house, closed off to the world by some weathered old gates. As a child it was the best back garden playground one could ask for. Full of old cars and parts, with every bit of empty wall space occupied by with something hanging from it. I would sit there and watch him work away on customers’ cars, pretending to be helpful, but probably just getting in the way.
What are the most important aspect that your father and grandfather taught you about gasoline culture?
I learnt a lot about classic cars at this early age. Ideas of taking care of things, rebuilding things and letting history live on. Nowadays when something breaks we just buy a new one to replace it. I remember the smell of that garage to this day, still when I get of whiff of a similar scent somewhere, I am taken back there. It wasn’t till a little later on in life that I learnt the next big aspect of gasoline culture: the importance of motor racing.
My father who worked at Jaguar at the time would get invited to various motor racing events throughout the country. British touring car, F1 and the occasional rally event. From the first event I was hooked. The sights, smells and sounds were and still are contagious. I remember sitting on the pit wall in some hospitality suite at the Silverstone GP, watching the cars come into the pits. They were so close you could almost reach out and touch them. Think that was the same year Senna rode on the side of Mansell’s car when he picked him up out on the circuit somewhere. All those experiences taught me how to love cars, it taught me so many fascinating aspects of gasoline culture, things you can only experience by being hands on and up close.
You have some powerful stories here. What auto-related rituals or milestones have you shared with your grandfather and father?
Unfortunately I never got to spend enough time with my grandfather to really share in any sort of rituals. He died when I was young. However, I’m lucky enough to have shared a lot with my father. He taught me how to drive manual when I was far too young. I would move the cars around the driveway for him. We would wash all the family cars on the weekend, taking time to detail them really nicely.
"We would work on his Lotus Europa when I was younger as he did a full body off restoration."
When we moved to America and I trained to get my license, he taught me the basics of driving, honing my clutch control tricks on our steep driveway. Later on, in high school, we would do track days together, first in his Caterham Seven and later in a Lotus Elise (we still do the odd track day even now). It’s funny that I used to get all of my car knowledge from him. Now that I am in the industry and photographing cars it feels like I can finally give back to him and let him enjoy coming along for the ride with me.
Your father was the first one to hand you a camera. What prompted this gift?
My father was into photography when he was younger and he always had a camera with him on family holidays. I think it was something he wanted to pass on to my sister and I (she went to school to study photography). I remember him giving me a pretty cheap point and shoot film camera when I was young. I used to love taking pictures of all the cars we would find in the pits, paddocks and parking lots at various motor racing events. Some how he tolerated me wasting countless film rolls and printing costs on some crappy car pictures. I still have them stashed away somewhere, maybe I should start posting them. #throwbackthursday?
That’s a brilliant idea! Our staff here would love to see them, especially with so many rich stories behind them.
And for all your readers, stick around for Part 2 of our interview with Jonathan. In it, we’ll find out all his insider tips for producing amazing auto art and car prints.
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