FOCUS: Indira Flack
19 August 2020
Long standing member Indira Flack shares with us her personal project Goodwood Festival of Speed over on Spotlight. We catch up with Indira to find out more about her career path and how she came to capture the greatest racing drivers in the world!
Can you remember what first prompted you to pick up a camera and what did you point it at?
A school trip to Switzerland when I was 10, I borrowed my Mum’s Kodak Instamatic. It was my first trip abroad, so the first thing I probably pointed it at was a landscape. The second was quite possibly this group of school friends.
School Friends - Switzerland
What was it that drew you towards being a portrait photographer?
I always liked photographing people, but it never occurred to me to be a portrait photographer. I thought I would be a fashion photographer but that never really suited me. It was photographer Ian Bradshaw who first got me interested in portrait photography. I worked with Ian on a freelance basis for about 2-3 years, photographing all sorts of people in all sorts of different environments. It was brilliant, Ian taught me how to turn up at a location and get the best out of what was available. It was also Ian who got me my first commission. He wasn’t available for a job so recommended me and that was the start of my editorial portrait career. I really enjoy meeting all the different types of people and the challenge of working in sometimes very tricky locations.
© Indira Flack. John Romain, Bristol Blenheim Pilots, Goodwood Revival.
© Indira Flack. Sonya Cassidy - The Resident.
Can you talk about your personal projects, the inspiration, how they came about and how you see these progressing.
Great British Racing Drivers (GBRD) is a personal project inspired by photographing at Goodwood. It is a unique collection of new photographs. Celebrating more than 100 of Britain’s iconic and inspirational racing drivers. In settings and locations that link to their motorsport story or illustrate their personalities away from the track.
Recovering from a cycling accident wanting to do something more creative, photographing at Goodwood gave me access to these legends of motorsport. Being able to chat to them face to face was a huge advantage. At this point, I knew very little about motorsport or which drivers to photograph, apart from the obvious F1 World Champions. Lots of research had to be done but I started with the FOS drivers’ list. It helpfully stated which discipline the drivers raced in and their achievements. My idea was not only to include champions, there are a whole host of brilliant drivers who never won a championship, Sir Stirling Moss for one. I wanted to show that although you need talent, determination and dedication to become a racing driver, you don’t have to win championships to be considered a great or inspirational driver.
© Indira Flack. Burlington Arcade - Mayfair Times.
The Duke of Richmond, previously an advertising photographer in the 80s (Charles Settrington) and Goodwood were hugely supportive throughout the project, generously making Goodwood available as a location and helping to contact some of the drivers. The Duke with his knowledge and passion for both photography and motorsport also very kindly wrote the foreword for the exhibition - currently at The Silverstone Experience.
© Indira Flack. Richard E. Grant - Mayfair Times.
One of my favourite Goodwood inspired projects was The Pilots. I always find the planes at Goodwood Revival fascinating to shoot. The main event at the Aerodrome is the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation. A concours d'elegance for pre-1966 aircraft. 2017 celebrated 10 years of the competition with a spectacular gathering of previous winners and I decided that the pilots with their aircraft would make a great little project. I pitched the idea to the Duke, who loved it and gave the go ahead. The weather was changeable to say the least but none of the pilots minded being extricated from the comfort of the Pilots Club to stand outside in the elements. Composition was key to cutting out the busy backgrounds and as ever, the English weather determined the style in which the pictures were shot. Photographing the Revival cars and drivers is always fantastic fun but it’s great when you get the chance to do something a little different. I loved being able to have a little more time and control to create this set of portraits.
There are lots more projects I’d like to shoot. Having the enforced break this year from Goodwood has given me time to add to my ever-growing list of micro projects that can be shot during the festival weekends.
© Indira Flack. Ben Ainslie - Mayfair Times.
With many photographers experiencing commissions coming to a holt and exhibitions being cancelled can you talk about the effects of the pandemic on your work and has it bought on any new avenues for your work? (Thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about your new online print sales..and also about the GDPR - GBRD even ! exhibition re-opening)
Covid 19 has certainly been a unique challenge, everything cancelled and shut down overnight. However, it has made me finally create my online print sales shop, something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. As I’m sure with most of you, I have a huge amount of photographs in my archive that I haven’t done anything with so far. So now is the time to bring all that work into play and explore the online print sales avenue. There are only a small selection of images in the Festival of Speed, Revival and GBRD galleries on the site at the moment but I’m adding new ones all the time. As I sort through my images I will be adding new galleries too.
The print shop also coincided with the re-opening of my Great British Racing Drivers’ Exhibition at The Silverstone Experience. Shut two weeks after the Official Opening by Prince Harry and 6 time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, the Experience and GBRD re-opened with Covid 19 safety measures in place, a month ago.
Admission to GBRD is included in Experience Ticket www.silverstone-experience.co.uk
© Indira Flack. Sasha - Scrubs Personal Project.
What does being a member of the AOP mean to you and how has the AOP impacted your career?
One of the first things I did when I moved to London was join AFEAP as it was then. Not only an invaluable source of work and advice but also a brilliant social network, very handy back then when I knew hardly anyone in London. I’m happy to say that many of those friendships still endure today. The AOP has had a huge impact on my career and have been throughly supportive throughout with all sorts of advice from legal to marketing. I even got the idea of how to hang the GBRD exhibition from the AOP Awards exhibition. My last assisting job to come through the booking service, was with Ian Bradshaw, mentioned previously. That job ultimately led to me becoming a portrait photographer and almost 30 years of absolutely loving photographing all sorts of people, in all sorts of places.
Visit Indira's profile in Find here