Jesse Alexander. The Birth of Formula One

02.04.2015 — 07.06.2015

The Lumiere is pleased to present an exhibition featuring the photographs by Jesse Alexander of the Formula One races from 1954 to 1971 which would later become recognized as a Golden Age of racing. Jesse Alexander’s legendary archive of motorsports photography provides a thrilling insight into this spectacular period.

Alexander started photographing motorsports when the post-war period of austerity gave way to the technological advancements and the ensuing rise of racing in the 1950s. His career as a photographer began when he went to shoot the original Carrera Panamerica, better known as the Mexican Road Race, in 1953, widely considered the most dangerous road race in the world. Here he met famous drivers including Juan Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti. In 1954 he moved to Europe in order to cover the European circuit of Formula One and the long distance races for American and European magazines. Attended by celebrities like Steve McQueen and royalty, such as Princess Grace and her husband Prince Rainier of Monaco, the Monaco Grand Prix at this time epitomized the glamour, prestige, and suspense of a thrilling European motorsport race. With the apartments and glamorous homes of Monte Carlo forming an incredible backdrop, Jesse Alexander’s photographs document the impressive cars, legendary drivers, and anxious spectators who made up the crowds. As spectators look on, the cars wind their way through the tight hair pin turns and by the casinos and hotels lining the narrow streets of Monte Carlo.

Jesse Alexander’s photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. His work has appeared in numerous publications such as Car & Driver, Road & Track, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, and Automobile. Jesse Alexander’s publications on racing photography and the history of motorsports include “Driven” (Chronicle Books, 2000), “Portraits” ((David Bull Publishing, 2008), and “Inside the Archives (David Bull Publishing, 2010). Jesse’s work was included in an exhibition of sports photography during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Jesse lives and works in Santa Barbara, California.

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