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Talking to F1 Photographer Vid Vorsic

Vid Voršič is pretty understated. When asking about his background, the response was a half-serious half-joking ‘there is nothing really interesting enough to put in that bit’. After diving a little further, I find out he spent years learning film and photography in Slovenia doing ‘mostly bullshit stuff like press conferences, politics and random events for the government and the president of Slovenia’.

After moving to Milan in 2013 to focus on fashion, he received a call from a mate who runs avtomanija.com (the most popular automotive website in Slovenia) asking if he fancied a trip to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Despite being an F1 fan from as early as he can remember, F1 photography was not ‘love at first sight’. Vid explains that this was mainly down to his level of access at the circuit ‘not being great’. It actually took around 5 or 6 races before he received his first official track-side pass. This allowed him to move away from shooting ‘through the fence’ and begin getting closer to the action. In 2016 he was contacted by Daniel Forrest (Lewis’s good friend) at Team Lewis Hamilton and is still collaborating with his agency/creative house.

What is the best image you have captured in F1 and why?
My favourite shot ever has to be the photo of Lewis exiting the Mirabeau Bas at the 2018 Monaco GP. Like a lot of F1 guys, I think the best F1 shot ever taken was Rainer Schlegelmilch’s photo of Stefan Johansson out of the tunnel in Monaco. The shot is dynamic and screams F1. I got a similar feeling in the stomach when I shot my image of Lewis there – so that’s probably why I think this is my best shot [so far].

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What is the best corner in the world to photograph? (Drivers say Eau Rouge – is that the same to photograph?)
My favourite corner to shoot so far is probably Mirabeau Bas. Advertising boards are everywhere in F1 and Mirabeau Bas is one of the few corners on the calendar where adverts are not in the backdrop of the shot – this allows for a range of interesting photos. As I said, that shot of Lewis there is spectacular.  I also shot some sick shots through the armco [barrier]. If you look carefully, you can actually see the sidewalk stones imprinted in the hot tyres [just for a second] when drivers cut the corner.

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I have to admit though, Eau Rouge-Raidillon section is also great to shoot. I am on a mission to cover it from all angles. I enjoy capturing it in a way for people to really feel how majestic it is as the cars run through it.

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To be honest, there is at least one interesting corner at almost every track on the calender. It also depends on what you want to get out of your shot.

How would you describe a successful Grand Prix Weekend?
It’s hard to say, and changes based on my clients and my work plan for that particular F1 weekend. When freelancing [for myself] I aim to get a selection of around 20 shots. Once I reach that I am satisfied, but when I am on a client shoot, I forget mostly about the work I would prefer and pretty much do everything possible to meet the brief and make the clients happy.

Is there a race or moment in F1 history you wish you had photographed?
There are a lot of moments in F1 history I would love to have shot, but I’ve never really thought about that. We live in our era of F1 and that’s my focus. I’m happy to collaborate with Lewis who is pretty much up there with the greatest ever but if we take a look at history, I would love to hang out with Rindt (Jochen). Just shooting around the garages and taking it all in. I love the old shots of drivers eating in their cars and mechanics smoking cigs while repairing engines. I’d say following Jim Clark around during a race week would be pretty interesting too.

What 3 items of kit can you not live without? (other than a camera and a camera bag!)
If it counts – a fixed 50mm lens. If this is considered as a part of the camera bag then I don’t really know. There is not a single item I cannot work without. I’m constantly improvising when things go wrong – and they go wrong a lot…

Who influenced you and your work?
It’s hard to say. I’ve never looked up to someone. The issue is with being influenced is that you can quickly start being ‘too’ influenced and end up copying a style without realising. I think it is more important to find your niche or style and develop that … If it opens up then you’re doing something right, if not pack the bags and choose another career. Simple as that.

I should clarify that there a lot of F1 photographers I really dig – but I can not say they influenced my work. To name a few, I love the simplicity and the moments Mr. Schlegelmilch shot. There is also Joshua Paul [Joshua Paul captures F1 cars using a 100 year old camera). As I always have film cameras in my bag,  it was a no brainer [to start speaking to him].

I love the eye for the detail of Vladimir Rys, the combination of everything by Clive Manson and Florent Gooden… And my family – like friends from former Yugoslavia (it was our country until the war), Srdjan Suki, Hasan Bratic, Andrej Isakovic,… The coolest people I’ve met.

Do you get access to everywhere and every team? If not, have you tried and failed?
Access is pretty much limited but it depends from race to race and the clients. Working for some people you get pretty much everywhere but there are always strict rules of what you can shoot in the garages.

Can you watch the race and take it in or are you too busy?
While there are moments you get caught up just kicking back and watching the cars pass during the FP’s, you cannot do this during the race. Starting at the first corner and covering the whole race up until the podium takes some serious planning to nail.

Do you talk to other photographers at the races or is it a mad chase to get to the right corner?
We hang out a lot with other photographers, sometimes we also work together. There is a nice vibe in the paddock – we also help each other.  Sometimes you miss some photos and others get them. Then there is the other way around so we are always willing to share some stuff, have coffee or lunch together, sharing rides to the track or even stay at the same hotels and houses together during the race weekend.

Do you capture images outside of the circuit?
Lately, I rarely go out of the circuit to shoot the fan zones or the grandstands. This is down to me covering the drivers and people around the paddock. I do always try to get one or two of the atmosphere. Especially the full grandstands are a good backdrop for the races, and the autograph sessions on Thursdays when the drivers engage the fans are pretty cool.

Does the light make it difficult at each race?
From race to race there is different light at the track. It is smart to study the path of the sun so you can make the plans for each session of where to position yourself. It also happens that they (FIA) move the race for a month or so and then all timings fall apart for the next year and you need to adapt your workflow again (that happened in Baku 2018). Even moving the race start times by 1 hour in 2018 made a difference.

  • Author: Sam Powell
  • Posted On: 30 January 2019