PHOTO STORIES

12.03.2016

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Visiting Wildwood during the summer months is like travelling back in time: motels and restaurants with bright neon signs characterise the small town on America's East coast, where an oversized impression of Rock’n’Roll legend Bobby Rydell graces an entire house-front, and where visitors strolling on the beachfront promenade can enjoy one of the supposedly best burgers in the world – sold in authentic 1950s style by the fast-food classic Doo Wop Diner. At Wildwood, where you can touch the rolling waves of the Atlantic, vintage fun and recreation are clearly at the top of the list. So there could hardly be a better location in which to hold the automotive extravaganza “The Race of Gentlemen” – in short: TROG! Year after year, polished chrome Hot Rods compete in an exciting 200 metre race that shows off the type of souped-up cars and motorbikes that would have sped along the water’s edge of Wildwood more than sixty years ago. The Oilers Car Club, which originally founded the National Hot Rod Association, revived the event in 2011. Participation is open to classic cars made before 1935, as well as motorbikes built no later than 1947. And who are the men driving these motorised soap-box carts and two-wheelers by manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, Excelsior, Ford or the Dodge Brothers? Daring, often bearded guys with mirrored racing goggles, scratched helmets, tattoos on their arms and engine oil in their veins.
Many are clad in classic white Harley Davidson overalls, their vehicles adorned with individual symbols. When the scantily-dressed flag-girl signals for the race to start, it is as though time dissolves in the mystical symbiosis of the rattling roar of engines and the spraying sand from skidding wheels.

In 2015, Johannes Huwe takes his M8 to the start of the race, witnessing the vintage vehicles accelerate to over 70 kilometres an hour. He has also brought his analogue MP, but in this instance, he spontaneously opts for the digital M with a 35mm lens. “Both cameras epitomise the classic M concept, and so perfectly complement the era of these historic cars,” the Hanover-based photographer explains. “But I decided to go with the colour photography of the digital M, enhancing the images with an analogue-film look.” His pictures of men and machines have the characteristic blue cast and flat contrasts that bring to mind the early colour photographs of the post-war era. The photographer takes the viewer on a journey into the past whilst bringing the atmosphere on the beach of Wildwood to life. With a skilful combination of camera technique and image processing, he vividly captures the spirit of the Race of Gentlemen. His retro-style documentary can also be seen as a homage to the original Hot Rodders and the feeling of freedom and progress that prevailed at the time.

The book World of Speed is published by www.seltmannundsoehne.de.
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 © Johannes Huwe

Johannes Huwe

Born in 1968, Huwe discovered photography in the mid-eighties. Since then, his reportages have led him all around the world, including Greenland and Antarctica. He continues to incorporate analogue photography into his work. His photographs have been presented in numerous exhibitions, and have been featured in automobile and lifestyle magazines.

johanneshuwe.com
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