Sunday 17th February was my first opportunity this year to visit a Volkswagen show. Still a little cold, but nowhere as bad as it’s been in recent weeks, I made the 90 mile drive up to Stafford for DubFreeze, a mainly indoor show at Stafford showground. I’ve been going to this show for many years. In the past, I’ve driven a beetle in convoy with other members of the Milton Keynes VW Club – in sub-zero conditions at a steady 60 mph, stopping regularly to scrape ice from the windscreen. This trip soon lost it’s appeal after leaving Stafford in freezing fog one year and breaking down less than 5 miles from the show. We got recovered eventually and had a nice warn ride home in the cab of the recovery truck! I think that was the last time I went in an aircooled VW, now preferring the warmth and comfort of a modern car in the winter!
After a two hour drive, I arrived at the show ground at 10am, no usual traffic queue, it was straight into the car park and then a short walk to the show. I had arranged to meet up with a guy who wanted to buy a 60s VW jack from me so I rang him and we met up at the doors to the hall. I had a quick chat with Barclay from Status VW Parts who always has a stand there selling parts. This year he only had two tables rather than his usual large stand. He explained that he makes more sales over the phone and online on the Monday morning after the show so will just be visiting shows with his barndoor bus this year to promote his business but not trading. I guess it’s a sign of the times when you can buy just about anything online for your VW. If I wasn’t taking photos, I doubt I would go again either.
There were definitely less VWs in the show-hall than last year but, still lots of people looking around them. Rat-look still still heavily represented and very popular but also a few restored aircooled VWs and a hand full of water pumpers too. It’s always difficult to get photos as you seem to become invisible when you stop and point a camera at a car. People will look at you, then walk in front of you and stop with their back to you, totally oblivious. You definitely need a lot of patience to photograph at car shows!
Well, with Christmas just around the corner I thought I’d better get my act together and get working on the first Bandwagen VW Calendar which is now available through the good folk at Redbubble.com. I’ve picked some of my favourite VW photos I’ve taken during 2012 and there’s a real mix of VW types and styles so hopefully something for everyone.
- Tough wire binding and hanger
- Stunningly sharp digital printing
- A3 200gsm satin art paper with a tougher cover
The calendars are priced at £19.49 each and are available from Redbubble.com
Willem-Aart van Dorpen is an automotive photographer based in The Netherlands. I recently contacted him to ask about his VW photograph on Flickr. Along with some VW show photography, Willem-Aart has started a new Flickr site and gone up a gear producing some fantastic VW photos that really stand out as being a bit special. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his excellent photography in the future.
“First of all, I would like to thank Malcolm for the opportunity to introduce myself on this blog. You’re doing a great job!
When I started out photographing cars in around 2007, I immediately fell in love with it. The endless artistic possibilities and technical challenges combined with my other passion, cars, is one of the many things that makes me truly happy. The fact that some of my work is appreciated by others serves as a great motivation to push myself further each and every time.
When I started out there was little or no direction, but recently things got a little bit more serious. Because I’ve always been fascinated by the work of commercial photographers like René Staud, Anton Watts and Martijn Oort, I took a two-year break from photography to educate myself on subjects like traditional art theory, creative retouching and CGI. While I’m not even close to the level I’m striving to achieve, I feel that my work has made significant progress. Every image proves to be an experiment, bringing new challenges and insights which keeps photography very interesting. There is not a single tool I leave untouched – cheating does not exist in photography as far as I’m concerned!
I’ve had my fair share of publications in magazines like ClassicVW, Ultra VW and Airmighty Megascene. It’s a great way to gain exposure and share your work with other VW enthusiasts. My goal is to create commercial-grade automotive photography in the not too distant future. Editorial publications are nice, but advertising and brochure photography is a whole different level. In the meantime, I’ll keep photographing a lot of nice vintage Volkswagens because they, and the people around them, will always have a special place in my heart.”
Sunday started very grey and very very wet as I made my way down the M40 motorway in torrential rain at 8am. As my car aquaplaned from lane to lane, I questioned why I had got up so early on a Sunday morning to make this trip in such appalling weather and wondered if I should just turn around and head for home…
I pressed on and got to Slough just after 9am – not bad considering the conditions. No queue at the door this year, I parked up, grabbed my umbrella and headed in for a wonder around the traders stalls in the sports hall. Every year there seems to be less and less stalls and less people making the trip to this one day swap meet. The bad weather obviously played its part this year and I guess another VW show in Stafford on the same day may have had an impact too?
Less stalls meant wider isles between them, which made wondering around much easier and less of a shuffle! There was quite a lot of interesting bits and bobs for sale this year but, I was determined just to look and not buy as there was nothing I really needed for my beetle. A friend of mine managed to pick up a front wing for and early oval-window beetle at a reasonable price which might end up on one of his1953 bugs. Other friends were sat behind their tables offering me discounts to help clear their goods. Many people take the same stuff to sell year after year with little success but I think there was a lot less rubbish this time as you need to sell some ‘quality’ items to pay for you pitch and make a profit of some kind.
Outside, the heavy rain had reduced to a light sprinkle so I decided to seize the moment to grab my camera for a stroll around the car park. Considering the rain, quite a few air-cooled VWs had turned up. Nothing very shiny and pristine though. Lots of daily-drivers mostly in what appears to be original or old paint and looking a bit ‘weathered’!
Photo of the week #47 – Terry Lee is the proud owner of Katie, this red and cream 1964 split window VW Bus. Fully restored earlier this year she is available for weddings – as is Terry who is a professional photographer! You can read more about Katie over on Terry’s website – retrosplit.