A sharp sound pierces the sunny Mediterranean skies as the noise echoes across the buildings around me. A car comes flying into view and I desperately try to pan with it as it screams off into the Monaco tunnel. I’m 21 years old and sitting in the grandstand with my dad across from Portier, one of Monaco’s many famous corners. It’s qualifying day for the Monaco Grand Prix 2008. With my eye stuck to the viewfinder for the next 2 days, I attempt to photograph F1 and GP2 cars at speed around the principality. It was the first time I photographed anything with my camera. I was brand new at it. Never even had an an interest in photography really. I was just playing around. But I knew that I was enjoying what I was doing with the camera and the race cars, even though looking back at the pictures, I wasn’t terribly successful at it.
Fast forward 6 long years, a lot of trial and error, a lot of mistakes and a lot of hard work, there I was standing at Portier again, and before me the Monaco tunnel, and the Mediterranean sea on my left. Standing mere feet away from where I had been sitting all those years ago with my dad. Except this time, it was different. Gone was my Nikon D80 and kit lens. In my hand instead was a Nikon D4 and a 500mm. Gone was the grandstand seat. Replaced by my own two feet kneeling next to the armco guard rail with a credential around my neck and a photo vest on my chest. Not there for fun this time. This time, it was work. Like any other weekend. But if anything could be called full circle, this would probably be it. It was always the goal to be a professional photographer, and MAYBE one day return to Monaco. But it was a dream. Not something that I thought would necessarily come true. But amazingly, thanks to many kind people, lots of hard work and a lot of “right place, right time”, there I was in Monaco covering my first Grand Prix in Europe, and my first Monaco Grand Prix.
I could wax poetic about the amazing track. The stunning views and weather. The incredible access. The cars zipping by mere inches away. But I can’t even really begin to describe the whole experience in words. I tried as best I could with photos. I still have so much to learn. I felt throughout the entire weekend that I wasn’t even close to getting the most that I could out of Monaco. To be completely honest, it was overwhelming. Hopefully I can try again next year. For now, this was my attempt to cover the most glamorous race of them all.
On to Canada for round 7 in a few days time!
As always, thanks to the people that make these things happen and who have supported my goal along the way. James, Russ, Laurent, Dustin, Road and Track, Blackbird, my family, close friends and so many others. I am deeply grateful.