an archive of my motor racing pictures and stories
words and photographs © Dale Kistemaker 1982-85, 2011-17
Dale Kistemaker: Did you know any other drivers that took photographs?
Phil Hill: “I just thought it was normal for a person doing something out of the ordinary to want to record it visually.”
Interview with Phil Hill 1983: “Passion and Precision” page 67
I’ve been fascinated with cars since I was a small child and in adolescence Road & Track magazine exposed me to international Grand Prix and Sports Car Racing. The drivers of the time like Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney became my heroes and Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps, and Le Mans were a glimpse of an exciting world of possibilities.
The plot twists and turns through the years until the Spring of 1982 when I bought a limited photography pass for the Long Beach Grand Prix. The sights, sounds, and smells of racing rekindled my youthful Grand Prix fervor. In a moment of inspiration I suggested an exhibition on the history of Grand Prix photography to Kent Smith, curator at the Long Beach Museum of Art. He immediately recognized the potential and the Museum quickly approved the idea. By the Fall of 1982 I was at the Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix interviewing people in Formula One and receiving extraordinarily positive responses. With initial funding by the Long Beach Foundation I went to Europe in 1983 to explore photographic archives, meet more photographers and racing people and photograph at three more Grands Prix. I found photographic treasures and collected a wealth of information. The Detroit Institute of Arts became the second venue and with the help of the Ford Motor Company a 119 page catalog was published. The exhibition “Passion and Precision: The Photographer and Grand Prix Racing 1894-1984.” was a great success. “Passion and Precision” changed my life. I met an extraordinary group of individuals and wrote on page 63 of the catalog: “Not everyone gets to meet the heroes of their youth. Rarer still is to find that these men are more than you ever expected: Human and real and still very much heroes.”
After the exhibition I went back to europe in 1984-85 to photograph more races with pictures published by Road & Track and later Paul Oxman. Since then I’ve shown racing images in exhibitions and created a multiple slide projector/audio piece “Drive.” Five years ago I began working through my Kodachromes and discovered a window into an extraordinary period of racing as well and a great personal adventure. Poetics of Speed is the online record of my “out of the ordinary” pictures and stories.