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Richard Kelley2018-12-07T15:37:38+00:00

Project Description

This intimate collection of Formula 1 photographs by Richard Kelley is the result of a twelve-year project, starting in 1972, where he was granted the kind of access that contemporary F1 photographers can only dream of. 

Richard explains: “It was my attempt to preserve lasting images of these men in all their humanity and complexity who, surrounded by their “brothers”, searched for the adulation and the immortality of being called World Champion. Today, Formula One is immensely safer, but completely shielded from reportage. The types of photographs I captured then are impossible to make now.”

We are delighted to offer our clients the opportunity to acquire signed limited edition photographs from Richard’s archives.

 “The Natural”

James Hunt “The Natural”
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British 1976 World Driver’s Champion James Hunt, beer in hand, relaxes with a cigarette and Penthouse Pet of the Year Victoria Lynn Johnson after winning the 1977 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

From the beginning, James Hunt was loaded with an explosive combination of adrenaline and massive amounts of testosterone; he was among the most aggressive of racers. With a reputation as a wild man with next to no race results, Hunt had little chance of progressing further until he was “discovered” by Lord Hesketh. Adopted by this privateer team, Hunt’s found a breakthrough with his victory over Niki Lauda’s Ferrari at the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix. Overnight, Hunt’s reputation skyrocketed, and he quickly became the United Kingdom’s new hope of a World Champion. With that, McLaren offered him a contract, and Hunt’s natural speed eventually brought him the 1976 World Championship, again defeating Lauda.

James Hunt will always embody the romantic, spontaneous and not-so-politically correct Formula One era that will never be seen again.

 “Indomitable”

Niki Lauda “Indomitable”
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Niki Lauda put his undeniable stamp on Formula 1 in the 1970’s with a life more improbable than fiction and more inspiring than possible. Just as he could reach down inside a racing car to find those hidden seconds, he reached down inside his soul and summoned the strength of will to not just survive, but to return and fight. Sterner stuff is rarely seen in life, rarer still in sports; Niki Lauda’s life defines the word “indomitable”.

 “In The Zone”

Jackie Stewart “In The Zone”
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Oblivious to all of the distractions surrounding him, then two-time Formula One World Driving Champion, Jackie Stewart focuses on capturing the pole for the 1972 United States Grand Prix, in the revised ELF Team Tyrrell-Ford 005.
 
That Richard was able to listen as he discussed possible minute changes to his car’s balance with engineer Derek Gardner was a lesson in how a world champion systematically adjusts his car to be the easiest to drive at a predetermined point in a race and how he intended to reach that point with a reserve. Simply magic.
 
He had pushed himself extraordinarily hard during 1972, competing in Formula One as well as the European Touring Car Championship. The exhausting schedule lead to an enforced month’s layoff with gastritis. 
 
Still, he won four Grands Prix that season, and finished second in the Driver’s Championship.

 “Metaphor”

James Hunt “Metaphor”
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James Simon Wallis Hunt.
Women loved him, men envied him, and corner marshals learned to keep him at arms length.
Throughout his meteoric career, James lived life in a 65-second minute; devouring as much stimulation as possible, for in those days, tomorrow was never a certainty. James personified the myth of the ’70s F1 playboy in all its glory and pain. 
Everyone who knew him still misses his spirit.

 “Profound”

“Profound”
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The way it was, 1972.
Barry Sullivan and Peter Davis standing guard over Denny Hulme’s race-ready Yardley team McLaren-Ford M19c.
One lone crew chief.
One assistant engineer.
One photographer.
Forty years ago, standing on the starting grid for the 1972 United States Grand Prix, no one could have dreamed of the changes that would occur to this team, to this sport, and to the drivers and their machines by the end of that decade; not to mention the worldwide business and marketing spectacle of Formula 1 today.

Nothing in Formula One would ever be both this simple and this profound again.

 “Sweet Revenge”

Nelson Piquet “Sweet Revenge”
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Nelson Piquet celebrates sweet revenge after dominating the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix for his second consecutive victory of the season. He had experienced five retirements in the season’s first six races before winning in Montreal the prior weekend. 
 
Nelson Piquet never hid his ferocity or his single-minded need to win. Love him or loathe him, he fought and won three world championships against the best, regardless of the era; wings, flat bottoms or active suspensions, with Cosworth V8s, and BMW and Honda turbos.

 “Oh, James!”

James Hunt “Oh, James!”
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England’s 1976 World Champion James Hunt, a cigarette dangling from his mouth and Penthouse Pet by his side, sprays the champagne after winning the 1977 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. 
 
Hunt was one of the most complicated, charismatic and controversial individuals ever to compete in Formula One. He loved projecting his dashing ’70s playboy image to the hilt and backed it up with outrageous statements, never-give-up speed on-track and an indulgent, full life off-track. 
 
This image represents the romantic, spontaneous and not-so-politically correct, Formula One age that will never be seen again.

 “Mangiare”

Ferrari “Mangiare”
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The flanks of the Ferrari 312 T2 serve as a table for the Scuderia Ferrari mechanics’ traditional pasta and Lambrusco dinner as they pause to eat during a long-night’s preparation of the car for the 1977 United States Grand Prix. They traveled as one, spending more time together than with their families. This was their sacred time to bond and to share a tradition; breaking bread and launching into song over their racing car before the next day’s battle.

 “The Stare”

Niki Lauda “The Stare”
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When Niki Lauda came out of retirement for the 1982 Formula One season to race for Marlboro McLaren, he knew he still had the ability to win. He was proven correct, winning Long Beach that year, and his third World Formula One Driver’s Championship in 1984. Here, he presents the classic Lauda pre-race stare as he revises his attack plan before the 1982 Detroit Grand Prix. 
 
Michelin had just advised him and teammate John Watson to change compounds, guaranteeing them dramatically improved grip. Watson would go on to win; Lauda would run as high as third before hitting the Armco.

 “The Fundamental Test”

Jacky Ickx “The Fundamental Test”
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Jacky Ickx waits in the pelting rain as his Ferrari 312 B2’s engine heat-soaks. Known as a “regenmeister”, he serenely accepted the fundamental test  of a Formula 1 driver; when the flag drops, he will use his natural driving talent alone, rather than engineering aides, to take on the best drivers in the world under the most difficult conditions.

 “Pure Joy”

Gilles Villeneuve “Pure Joy”
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In 1977, Gilles Villeneuve arrived in the Mosport pits for his first F1 session as a Ferrari driver. He was brought in only after the team had removed every photojournalist; there were no exceptions. I left the pit lane and took position behind a narrow split between the concrete walls that formed the back of Ferrari’s pit stall. I was totally alone, waiting quietly to avoid drawing attention. When he arrived, I then calmly made the only series of images of a joyous Gilles Villeneuve, framed at the moment the team placed the Ferrari jacket on his shoulders.

He once said, given three wishes, he would be a racer, be a Formula One driver, and then drive for Ferrari. Experiencing the fulfillment of his dream and witnessing that moment with him were pure bliss.

 “Unfathomable Loss”

François Cevert “Unfathomable Loss”
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By 1973, François Cevert was in ascendency; he had learned race craft from Tyrrell teammate and great friend, Jackie Stewart and discovered the rewards of a Formula 1 driver’s life, courtesy of Bridget Bardot. There wasn’t another driver of that era who better embraced the combination of a flat-out life style with intelligence and sure-to-be next World Champion talent. I had spent the entire morning making images of François, as I knew he would be inheriting Stewart’s team leadership in 1974. It wasn’t meant to be.
This is the final image ever made of François. Two minutes later, an accident in Watkins Glen’s Esses would take his life. He would have been France’s first World Champion and would have made a fantastic ambassador for the sport.

 “Cool”

Clay Regazzoni “Cool”
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Clay Regazzoni was usually in control regardless of the situation. He had seen both ups and downs with Ferrari in the early 70’s and rose with Niki Lauda in 1974 to challenge for the World Driver’s Championship, finishing  runner-up in standings.  Clay had moved on to here and later, at age 39, would use all his natural speed to capture the first Formula One victory for Williams at the 1979 British Grand Prix.

Biography

Richard Kelley has been a photojournalist and writer for most of his life. His future was set after his father took out a loan on his life insurance to put a new black Nikon FTN in his hands. He became a student of W. Eugene Smith, and the Magnum photographers Henri Cartier Bresson and Joseph Koudelka. Their strict point of view became his mantra: make photographs that tell a story, remove yourself, disappear, leave out the vanity, and make emotional and elegantly composed full-frame images that point to a truth about your subject.

Just nine months after acquiring that first camera, he began his documentary of Formula 1. After serving an internship at the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram and holding positions at the Chicago Tribune and Observer newspapers in Detroit, he began a 20-year association with Car and Driver Magazine, providing art for over 650 feature stories and dozens of covers.

He also provided creative content for images, media and marketing materials for many of the largest multinational automotive manufacturers in the United States. Clients include Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Kia, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen. He extended his photography to include writing and editing in 1998, as associate editor of Stock Car Racing, and then founding team member and editor with William Jeanes at AutoWorld Weekly in 1999.

His new book, Waiting, is the result of his 12-year effort to document intimate moments and impressions of an era of Formula One that will never be witnessed again. It also serves as the restoration of his photographic soul. Kelley continues to photograph Formula One and endurance racing, searching for his next documentary. He and his wife now live near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.