The Picture / The Story

Jesse Alexander

Jim Clark, Grand Prix of Belgium, 1962

22 x 17 Archival Pigment Print
40 x 27 Archival Pigment Print

THE PICTURE | THE STORY

Jesse Alexander is considered the preeminent motorsport photographer of the 20th Century. His passion for the sport itself is only surpassed by his incredible dedication to document the people, cars, and places these famous races occurred.

In representing a broad range of documentary subject matter, the Fahey/Klein Gallery hosted Jesse Alexander's exhibition, Monaco, which featured photographs from Jesse's time documenting the Monaco Grand Prix from 1955 to 1971-- a time period that epitomized the glamour, prestige, and suspense of a thrilling European motorsport race.

Jesse Alexander recounts below the story behind capturing his famous portrait of legendary racer, Jim Clark.

Jesse Alexander's exhibition, Inside Track, opens this Saturday, August 6th at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
 

David Fahey
Fahey/Klein Gallery

. . .

Undoubtedly every photographer has his or her “Moonrise”, the well-known moonscape of Ansel Adams made in 1941.

My most notable photograph is most certainly the impromptu portrait of race driver Jim Clark, minutes after he had safely climbed out of the Formula One car and made his way to the podium to accept the winner's trophy for the Belgium Grand Prix, in 1962.

His average speed had been 132 mph in the Lotus 25. Which was very fast for the day.  

We were friends and both terribly excited.  I congratulated him while at the same time taking several frames with the Leica. It was important that I had the access and it was a very emotional and exciting few minutes. I was able to get close to Clark as he approached the podium.  When I raised my camera, he paused for a second. In just an instant, I feel I was able to capture both his courageous spirit and his sense of calm under pressure

After developing the film, a week later, I recognized that I also had a winner.  

Clark was one of the most popular drivers of the era. He displayed a relaxed, almost effortless, style that captivated his fans. In 1968, his career came to a tragic end when he was killed at Hockenheim, Germany. The accident was apparently caused by tire failure.

Jesse Alexander