Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Once They Were Race Cars

June 10, 2007|Preston Lerner

Jesse Alexander is the only American motorsports photographer whose work is as likely to be found in an art gallery as at a racetrack. Today, major races are covered by legions of shooters armed with motor drives and lenses that are nearly as big as they are. But 50 years ago, Alexander was one of the only Americans following the Grand Prix circus, and his Leica produced some of the most iconic black-and-white racing images of the '50s and '60s. During those deadly decades, most races were run on picturesque public roads closed for the occasion rather than today's safe, antiseptic, purpose-built circuits. Alexander continued to document racing as it grew into a garish business during the '70s. (His luscious, full-color photographic collection, "At Speed," is among the most precious collectibles of the period.) Now an eminence grise living in Carpinteria, Alexander is most celebrated for his elegiac black-and-white racing photos. His finest images, like the ones showcased here, are imbued with a sense of gravitas befitting a sport that was more than a mere game. And to gaze upon them is to be transported back to a bygone era when "life and death" was an inescapable fact, not an editorial cliche.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|