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Classic Car Rally at Barleylands

Date posted: 22 July 2013

man in hat and glasses sitting between two classic cars and reading newspaper

What I know about classic cars could be written on the back of a postcard, and what interests me about cars could be written on the back of the stamp. So why would I want to visit the annual Classic Car Rally at Barleylands, Billericay, Essex? What I couldn’t resist was a wealth of photo opportunities.

By Peter Carruthers

As a people photographer, what interests me is looking for ordinary, everyday people and taking their picture. In particular, candid photographs or ‘stolen’ portraits.

A field full of car enthusiasts – looking under bonnets, peering into windows, and eating their packed lunch – offered a busload (or at least a people carrier) full of photo opportunities.

The rules I set myself were simple. Every portrait was to be 100% candid and natural, and no one was to be asked if I could take their picture. Whilst an element of the car had to be in the photograph to give context to the picture, the image was to be clearly about the person. It was ‘street’ photography – but taken in a field.

Why the subjects would want to sit in a field for hours I could only guess. Was it the engine and the mechanical workings, was it the pride in owning a classic design or a vehicle from a bygone era, or was it some distant notion of the romance of travel and he open road? I didn’t know, and if I’m bening honest, I really didn’t care. What was important to me was taking an interesting portrait.

Likewise, if they knew what I was doing, they probably couldn’t undstand why I would want to take pictures of someone I didn’t know and not a picture of their car. But then that often worked in my favour. Quite often the subjects would think I was taking a shot of their motor vehicle, and not themselves.

Below are some of my favourites.

classic car barleylands essex

classic car rally photography barleylands essex

 classic car enthusiast barleylands essex

car rally street photography barleylands essex

barleylands classic car rally street photography

street photography at classic car rally barleylands essex


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