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Races, Faces, Places: The motor racing photography of Michael Cooper [Hardcover]

Paul Parker

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2009
Races, Faces, Places is split into three main sections as described by the title, and travel from the late 1950s to the early 1970s - the heartland of motor racing nostalgia. Races: focuses on Formula 1, but Michael Cooper also covers sports, GT and saloon car racing. Faces: features the author’s portraits of iconic 1960s drivers and is perhaps his best work and illustrates the author’s genius at capturing the moment, an ability to understand the subject or place in an intimate way that transcends technical skills. Places: previously unseen behind-the-scenes material in pit and paddock locations in a way that defines the era.

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About the Author

Paul Parker is the author of Sports Car Racing in Camera 1960–69, Fomula 1 in Camera 1960–69 and Formula 1 in Camera 1970–79. He is a freelance writer and superb photo researcher, with work published in Octane, Motor Sport, Classic Cars, Forza!, Jaguar World Monthly and the Daily Telegraph. He lives in Switzerland.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars speedReaders.info Review March 12 2010
By Speed Readers - Published on Amazon.com
This is the sort of book you pick up in an idle moment--and hours later wonder where the day has gone. Both in terms of photographic technique and storytelling there is much, much to discover here.

Parker pays tribute with this book to one of the great names in British motor racing photography. The selection presented here is culled, with the help of Cooper's wife Liz from his archive of negatives which has yielded quite a few of the sort of photos that may not have made final cut in Cooper's day but now gives us something to look at we haven't seen before. Moreover, some of the color work here is shown for the first time. There was never much of it anyway as Cooper preferred to work in black and white.

The photos are presented in more or less chronological order and stem from the 1950s to the 1970s when Cooper turned his back on the rampant commercialization and politicking in F1 and returned to his roots in advertising and commercial work. Obviously the book is first and foremost a record of its time: the cars, drivers, tracks, the very different conditions in regards to safety and also unfettered access; not to mention the absence by and large of sponsorship decals slathered all over cars, drivers, and tracks.

While the overall theme of the book is racing, not all of the photos here fall into that category but show people or circumstances emblematic of the time and motoring life. Cooper had also been involved with three motion pictures, most notably Grand Prix and Le Mans, and one chapter covers that. Aside from short introductions to the various sections there is no other narrative save Parker's captions which are very detailed, often witty, and convey great detail and even more sympathy for his subject. The style and presentation here are very similar to Parker's highly recommended In Camera series of racing photography books. Many of the photos are full-page and all are well reproduced and printed on glossy paper.

Among the several people who contributed a page of reminiscences of Cooper is the artist Dexter Brown who also drew a portrait of Cooper specifically for this book which is shown on the last page. A bibliography and a good index top off an all-around satisfying book. Parker hints at hundreds and hundreds of still unprinted photos in the archive.

Full review at <speedreaders.info>. Copyright 2010, Sabu Advani.

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