The Wonderful World Of Porsche

Up Close Car-Photography At Its Finest

Motor-vehicle obsessive, Steffen Jahn, has been snapping pictures cars since the beginning of his artistic career. Trained in photography, he did his apprenticeship in one of Europe’s largest car studios and shadowed some of the most famous car-photographers out there. “I’m now based in Stuttgart,” he tells us. “This is a strategic choice, as it’s in the centre of German car manufacturers.”

His latest series is called Secret Treasures – The Porsche Warehouse, and its name sums up the sense of child-like glee Steffen gains from his working experiences. Secret Treasures entices us into the Porsche gallery; it is full of gleaming motor-designs that would have made J.G. Ballard eat his heart out. The excitement of the vehicles, their contours and curves, are likely to become impressed upon a viewer’s memory, indulging in the glamour and speed that has made the car a pinnacle-image of modernity. “I´m a petrol-head with clean fingers,” Steffan remarks, “as I have no idea how to repair a car at all!” Luckily, Steffen doesn’t need to get his hands dirty, made evident by the Warehouse series: a compelling glimpse at cars in all their intricate beauty before they hit the road.

We caught up with the photographer to find out more:

The Plus: What influenced your focus on car-photography?
Steffen Jahn:
That started most likely with my first Matchbox-model. I consider myself hooked on cars from this very moment on. I´m fascinated by their colour, shape, speed and the promise of freedom.

TP: Who are your clients?
Luckily I have all the nice car makers on my list – from Lamborghini to Aston Martin, Ferrari to Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, Jaguar and Land Rover just to name a few.

TP: Your latest series Secret Treasures – The Porsche Warehouse is full of far out designs, which was your favourite and why?
In such places you are like a kid in a candy store. You can´t decide what’s best. Unluckily I was not allowed to take a picture of my favourite car – a one off design of a Cayenne hunting car for the Porsche family. It was packed with nice little design tweaks and was equipped with everything a proper hunter needs.

TP: How did you compose your images for this project?
I was working with an Alpa Max, a Swiss made high-end technical camera. It not only ensures an incredible image quality, but offers precise framing without any converging lines. It’s a complex and time consuming way to handle and set up a single shot, as it forces you to plan every single shot, so the image is already finished in your head before you put up your tripod. It’s a very concentrated and focused way of working.

TP: What did you love most about the Porsche Warehouse as a set?
All the windows were painted white to avoid any curious looks from the outside to this holy grail of car collections. So the light quality was very soft and unique, like sitting in a big white cloud.

TP: What’s next for you?
I just returned from the secret Mercedes warehouses (quite a coincidence) and I´m off tomorrow for a location check in Madrid for Citroen, followed by a weekend drive with a Cayenne in Germany. Sounds like a perfect job!