You can get lost in design. Goodness, I do on a daily basis! When you yourself are creating or when you are admiring and looking at what someone else has created, it can really take you to another place in an instant. My romantic mind can be lost for hours on end. I find this inspiration in so many places. One such place is in vintage cars. They have always fascinated me. It started when I was young and I would dream of owning a beautiful old car, in immaculate condition, more I believe for the ability to constantly look at the impeccable design and admire it every day than actually driving it, because back then, I was too young to drive. Of course now, that love is for both the drive and the design.
When I came across the photographs of Bill Pack, I felt he had captured exactly how I felt when I would look at beautiful designs. First of all, the subject matter – the cars. Those themselves were works of art. Bill’s work has a wonderful use of lighting which intrigued me, with the photos looking like paintings. Each time I looked at an image, I felt so much passion for the design and the flow of the lines and his ability to capture this beauty has me in awe. Of course, when I am inspired, I always want to find out more, learn about the creator and how it all comes together. I caught up with Bill to ask him some questions about his work and inspirations.
Exclusive Q&A with Bill Pack
TMHS: Firstly, congratulations on your photographs, they are nothing short of spectacular. You describe them well with your description – Automotive Art. The cars themselves are works of art and you have the ability to capture them to reflect exactly this. Attention to detail, beauty, clean lines and curves make it feel like the car is alive, almost like a person. There is often a disconnect when you see a photograph of a car, with the car looking like an object, however, you capture the essence of the design and each image comes to life. How did you come to photograph cars as art?
BP: Thank you and thank you for your interest in my work!
For me, it goes beyond the car or object as you mentioned.
It starts with the heart and soul of the designer. A designer started out with pencil, paper and an idea, then they drew that first line. That line was drawn with emotion, hopes and aspirations. Now that line is full of history and represents the story of a life. At this point, it’s much more than just a car.
My objective is to connect with the passion the designer felt. Unlock the essence of the design. Reveal the visual narrative. I believe it is this approach that allows my work to transcend photography…to become art.
TMHS: I am quite intrigued with your lighting technique, “Painting with Light”. Can you tell me more about this? How did using this technique shape your work as it is today?
BP: “Painting with Light” is a process of layering light on a subject. Each exposure is about 4 to 15 minutes. During this exposure, I shape the car with light. It is through this “layering” of light that the passion of the automotive design is revealed. Each image is unique and hand-crafted.
The first step in my journey to create automotive art was experimenting with lighting. I refined the technique through advertising photography in San Francisco. With adjustments to how I “painted with light”, I was able to achieve the look I was seeking.
TMHS: You are located in San Francisco, do you travel to different locations to photograph the cars?
BP: From San Francisco I relocated to Atlanta. Atlanta has a huge classic car culture and has been a wonderful place to develop my art.
I travel to where ever the cars are located. I specifically designed my lighting to be mobile and for set-up time to be under two hours.
TMHS: I have looked at your different projects so many times and I struggle to select a favourite as I love them all but I did narrow it down to my top 3 – the 1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the 1967 Corvette and the E-Type Jaguar Series 1. Do you have a particular favourite car you have worked with?
BP: That is a difficult task… to narrow it down to just one. Each car has had its own unique experience. I love hearing the owners stories about the car as it has been in their collection. Then learning about the history of the car and the designer. I always learn something new on each project.
Each car has had its own unique experience. I love hearing the owners stories about the car as it has been in their collection. Then learning about the history of the car and the designer. I always learn something new on each project.
Sorry!! Did I side step that question completely?!
TMHS: Any cars on your wish list to photograph?
BP: I would love to have the opportunity to work with a 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport by Scaglietti.
TMHS: What have been some of the challenges with photographing cars?
BP: The biggest challenge is really the part of the process I love the most. The challenge is “how do I create the image I see in my minds eye” and make it physical or tangible? This leads to a process of creative exportation and experimenting. Which I love. Think of it as a mental to visual translation.
TMHS: Alongside the challenges, what have been the greatest achievements for you and moments you have loved in this creation of automotive art?
BP: That moment when the light reveals the line.
It’s hard to explain but it’s an emotional experience.
As an artist, it is hard to know if my work is touching others as it touches me or if the emotion is coming through. Seeing this happen is very satisfying and humbling. Which may seem odd because it is “just a car”. But it goes beyond the car, it goes to the passion and vision of the designer.
TMHS: Have you exhibited these automotive artworks? They are so beautiful, it would be amazing as a show to see them hanging as a collection.
BP: Thank you. This is in the works and I will pass on that information to you as it gets closer. Looks to be around May or June in the Atlanta area.
I am also working on a book project that is to line up with the gallery show.
TMHS: We all have things that inspire us, what inspires you in your every day?
BP: I would have to say music. I find that certain types of music allows me to tap into a very creative part of my mind. It allows me to visualize and express. Right now I am going through an acoustic phase. Ben Howard, the Staves and Benjamin Francis Leftwich are getting me into that space at the moment.
TMHS: Where can readers see more of your work and book you for shoots?
BP: My main site is v12enterprises.com. You can view my collections, get information for bookings and buy prints. I have an Instagram account @v12enterprises on Instagram and Facebook page, v12enterprises on Facebook.
The Man Has Style Special Edition Print
Bill has released a special Limited Edition Print for the readers of The Man Has Style. Limited to 12 editions, each print is numbered and signed by the artist. Size is 7.7″ x 14″.
Find the print (here) or click on image below to take you to the special Limited Edition Print.
Words and Interview by Sarah Crawford, Founder & Editor