Rediscovering Motorsport Photography with Theresa Ortolani


If a good photograph is knowing where to stand, then Theresa Ortolani has definitely perfected this art known only to the crème de la crème of motorsport photography or, indeed, any kind of photography in her book.

Let me explain myself here: Endurance: Down and Dirty Off-road Racing, a book by a Brooklyn-based photographer Theresa Ortolani, has recently landed on my lap and I felt inspired to write a review, the first ever book review here @’s HQ. It’s also a good opportunity to break the duck and cure my own writer’s block, which is kind of an orange cone in my brain, sorta. No more IndyCar-related tweeting after midnight – that’s what I’m saying.

First of all, you should totally go to Theresa’s official website and buy the book in question. Why? Because it’ll save you from the digital boredom of our century and help you detox from the “joys” of Pappogram and suchlike. I mean it’s a decent size book with great quality prints, also featuring a few interviews in order to illustrate (I suspect) the  already wonderful illustration which is the book itself.

Second of all, I remembered my days as a kid, just hanging out in my dad’s lab where he would develop and print all his stuff. Simplicity is the word here, simplicity and brutal honesty of the old style photography.

As you may have guessed, the book is dedicated to cross country, bikes, enduro heroes and plenty of dirt (in a good sense). I confess my favourite shot has got to be that of a dude completely (100%!!!) covered in dirt and mud – awesome!

There’s a good balance between action shots, atmospheric shots, portraits and a series of behind the scenes pictures. I guess altogether it’s what makes the book so unique. It’s something I call the right approach.

Then you can’t help but notice the sporting element in the book (smells like team spirit): cross country is a sport, it’s something you do as a true fan. It’s that nail-biting drama and not knowing who’s gonna win in the end, tension, passion if you like, hard work and dedication. It’s a dangerous cocktail, a drug that makes us racing junkies wanna come back  to la piste and watch it all over again.

Endurance: Down and Dirty Off-road Racing

Endurance: Down and Dirty Off-road Racing

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