Sometimes, we simply owe people. Like Dennis Gray and Bob Ross, who patiently and artistically created the new business cards for VeloceToday.
That they are both motor racing photographers of the third degree goes without saying. Find their booth at Concorso Italiano on Friday, August 18th and say "Hi" for all of us from VeloceToday. (Ed.)
Robert Ross and Dennis Gray
A chance meeting in the elevator at the Nikon Center for Photography brought
these two unlikely friends together. A love of cars and a fascination with photography has driven their relationship for over 30 years. They bring a combined result of this friendship to the Concorso Italiano in a collection of unique photographic images.
Their first project together was for the Community Psychiatric Centers. Bob Ross was the Designer and Dennis Gray the photographer. Psychiatric work? Well, it was a start.
Bob grew up in the East Bay in San Lorenzo; Dennis, in the central valley town of
Atwater. Growing up in Northern California in the era of the muscle cars shaped their view of everything with wheels.
Sitting in the driveway in his dad’s ‘52 Plymouth Cranbrook Bob Ross practiced
dry shifting the three on the tree. He could barely reach the pedals. But even at 6 he was a car guy. He knew it. Everyone knew it, and over 50 years and almost as many cars, he’s still a car guy.
Once he could reach the pedals there was no holding him back. “One of the first photos I shot with my Brownie was my mom’s new ‘53 Ford wagon. I still have the shot. As well my dad’s ‘58 Chevy Biscayne that got me through high school.”
Sometime around 1962 at Laguna Seca he started shooting racecars first on the
track and then up close in the pits. And that was that. Since then he has stayed close in.
The latest pictures reflect work done after the original was shot. "They have been shot both on film and digitally. Form, color, detail; they all play a part in the result. I try to capture the essence of the car as art. That’s the final result”.
“Sneaking into the Stockton Road Races in the dark, hot trunk of my Dad’s ’50
Merc. was the beginning of my love affair,” said Dennis Gray. "That, and the hot Castor oil fumes. We watched the races protected behind the lightweight lath fence that wound around the track-made even safer with the occasional, strategic bale of hay."
In March of 1957, leaning over that fence I watched Carol Shelby park John Edgar’s 410 Sport Scaglietti Spyder at the end of the main straight. He had torn the gearshift lever out of the box and had to abandon mid-race. He returned strolling along the inside of the fence, helmet and gloves in one hand, gearshift lever in the other. He was dressed in striped workman’s overalls, a denim work shirt, Indian moccasins, and a woman’s satin girdle strapped up tight for back support. I assume. A little strange, even for Stockton. I’ve been a racing fan ever since.”
In 1959 I made my first trip to Laguna Seca, then made every race at Laguna until leaving for the Air Force in 1964. Over the years I was witness to Sterling Moss and Dan Gurney in Lotus 19s, Phil Hill in a Chaparral, Rodger Penske in a Birdcage Maserati, Ken Miles in Porsche Spyders and later Cobras and the McLarens of the Bruce and Denny show.”
“I think I make pictures out of the not so obvious. Kind of a unique point of view
of the ordinary.”
Owning one of their photographs may be as close as you get to being at the track
in the pits. You might as well own the car because you own the sound, the smell, the feel, the experience. The emotion.
Preview more of these images at