US Magazine Digital Photo Pro – Sept / Oct – The Pro Interview

William Sawalich spoke with UK based commercial photographer Tim Wallace for a major 8 page Pro feature that is out now in the Sept / Oct issue of Digital Photo Pro Magazine in the US, Tims work is also featured and makes up the magazines front cover for this edition.

Tim Wallace: Next Year’s Model
English photographer Tim Wallace reinvigorates the art of automotive photography, one luxury car at a time

car photography

Tim Wallace’s intense car photography is more about light than digital processing and, as he points out, lighting cars isn’t easy. “If you ever try to light a car, you’ll realize how difficult it is. Because they are actually just multi-angled reflective surfaces. The amount of times that I’ve thought, ‘My god, why didn’t I just do food? or people? or something that doesn’t reflect? I hate this!’ But it’s just the mere fact that it is quite difficult to do well, that it’s probably a very good thing for me, because it means there aren’t a million people doing the same thing as I do.”

car photography

Seven years ago, Tim Wallace decided he wanted to photograph luxury cars. So, the newly unemployed executive built a business plan and got to work, teaching himself lighting and digital imaging from the ground up. Today, he creates beautiful, emotive images for the most prestigious brands in the industry, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

“I basically shoot the prestige car market,” Wallace says, “which, in essence, means my career is based on shooting cars you can’t afford, you don’t really need, but you desire. With very expensive sports cars and luxury cars, you don’t make that purchase based on fuel economy, space and ergonomics. It’s an inspirational, emotional purchase. And an emotional purchase requires a sort of emotional, dramatic image. If you were to look at an advert for something like a Renault people carrier or Toyota, that would be based very much on lifestyle, economy, things like how friendly it is to the environment, and it’s going to be a very different type of picture altogether.

“I get it right for my clients,” Wallace continues, “because I know their brands really well. I know that for Rolls-Royce, for instance, it’s not so much about the car, but about the materials, and the engineering and the quality of workmanship. It’s not a huge amount about the aesthetics of the car. Aston Martin is very much on power; their byword is: ‘Power, Beauty, Soul.’ It’s all about something that’s very inspirational, very emotional, very different.”

car photography

Wallace’s goal from the start has been to create images that are as much art as advertising. That, plus his clients’ need for inspirational imagery, has shaped his moody visual style. “Photographers should develop their own unique style,” Wallace says. “It’s absolutely crucial. My stuff is quite harsh, not in a tonality or anything like that, but I do like deep shadows; I like a lot of black space. I give my subjects a lot of space. I did a thing today, actually, the back of an Aston Martin DBS. You’ve got the DBS badge and the quarter light, and it’s a strip of light running down the paintwork, and then it illuminates the massive exhaust tailpipe at the bottom. And yet I’ve allowed about five or six feet on each side of it in total darkness. I’ve allowed it that space, and I’m hoping they don’t crop it too much.”

The seeds were sown for Wallace’s aesthetic during childhood, when he printed photographs for his grandfather. He wasn’t particularly interested in taking pictures, but he enjoyed printing, and he was very good at it. This led a teenage Wallace to land a darkroom job for a London newspaper, which eventually led to photography. It’s the printing, though, that’s still evident in his shadow-rich work today.

car photography

“Obviously, a lot of the stuff I did was black-and-white,” he says, “and even now, if I look at an image I’m going to shoot, I pretty much know in my head what I’m going to do before I do it. I reverse-engineer it. And I still think of it in black-and-white, grade 1, 2, 3 or 4, which is very unusual. I think it comes from printing. If you talk to anyone that has printed at a reasonable level, they get very obsessive about the blacks, ‘That’s not deep enough,’ or ‘It’s not warm enough.’ And I just think that less is more. When you’re doing cars, you don’t need everything brightly lit. It needs to be opulent, it needs to be slightly mysterious. And you don’t need to see the entire car, you don’t need to see the entire interior.

“Say you’re doing the interior of a Corvette,” Wallace continues. “It’s a sports car, it’s a luxury car and it’s a cockpit. It wants to be a dark, opulent, luxurious place with lots of toys. I don’t like to overlight things. When I’m doing the overall statics for the cars, I know a lot of guys will stick them in a studio and just stick them in front of an infinity cove. In the last 12 months, I’ve shot once in a studio. I just don’t think cars belong in studios. I’d rather shoot them out in the environment where they belong.”

Shooting on location, both indoors and out, Wallace attends to his lighting like an old-school studio pro. “I have done stuff in a factory, where cars are literally getting built around me,” he says, “and I’m in a clear bit of floor in the middle shooting a wheel or something. And people go, ‘Wow, did you take it off and did you have it in a studio?’ And I’m like, no, if I actually did a behind-the-scenes shot, you wouldn’t believe where I did it. It’s light. Light is an amazing thing. But you’ve got to understand what you can do with it. I basically taught myself how to light cars, and I’m still learning all the time.”


To create his signature deep shadows with selective highlights, Wallace uses strip lights positioned close to the car. “A softbox is very soft light, and it spreads,” Wallace says. “Well, yeah, because inherently that’s what softboxes do. But what not many people realize is, you can change the properties of the light very easily by doing certain things. Everyone gets obsessed with the position of a light, but there are two other dimensions to light they don’t often think about. One is the power output. They think, ‘Well, if I just get the right exposure, then that’s the correct power output,’ which is fine, but obviously, there’s a sliding scale. You know, you can put that light on very low power and turn it into a wider aperture, and you’re still going to get the same exposure, but you’re going to get a different dynamic. And the other is the proximity of the light, how close the light is to the subject. For a lot of stuff I shoot, the light is very close, the power is very high and you get a very punchy light. You’ve still got an evenness, but you’ve got a harder light. And with a harder light and a much harsher exposure, you get natural depth, and shadows start to appear. And then you just expose for the highlights, and everything just naturally falls into very deep shadow, and what’s going to go between the highlights and the deep shadow is a very quick falloff, quite a dramatic falloff. And, yeah, some of it you can’t do on a DSLR because you can only sync at 1/250, so there’s the added bonus to shooting medium format in the fact that you can sync at 1/1000 at ƒ/32 and take your ISO down to 25, so you really can get the power pushing through.”

car photography

Wallace shoots exotic cars like the Aston Martins shown in this article, as well as collector cars like the classic American models here. He specialized from a business perspective. “There were a lot of guys shooting cars, and it was very much magazine-cover type stuff, but there was nobody really doing it very high-end, commercially. When I first started, people said, ‘You won’t succeed. You’ll fail within a year.’ They also said, ‘You’re too old,’ which was moderately amusing because I wasn’t even 40 then, and I think age has no bearing on anything. And thirdly, interestingly, they said, ‘You won’t succeed commercially because your stuff is too much like art, it’s too artistic.'” Wallace has proved them all wrong.

car photography

For outdoor shots, Wallace incorporates the sun into his lighting schemes. “Because I don’t shoot cars in studios,” Wallace says, “there’s one light in place straight away: the sun. You can either overpower it or you can think of it as your first light, and that’s what I tend to do. There are a lot of times when I shoot cars outside and I need to light them, but I don’t want them to look lit. So I’ve got to do it very subtly.”

One way to light discreetly is to hide the source reflections within the angles of the car. “You cannot have the sun going down with a Mustang in the foreground and not create deep shadows,” Wallace explains. “Now, if you light that car and get rid of these shadows, it looks like a lit car in front of a sunset, and it’s going to look pretty terrible. So you need to push extra light in, but not overpower it. If you take a standard Mustang, where the door comes up, it sort of curves, and where that curve ends, it flattens out and there’s a crease. That crease is where you can naturally hide a strip light. When you’re doing a lit shot outside with a car, the first thing you’ve got to do is lock yourself into position where you’re going to shoot from. Every single movement changes everything. Even just two or three centimeters either way, and you mess up all your lighting because the reflections start to change.”

Though Wallace much prefers in-camera work to postprocessing, he hears frequently that his lighting is impossible. “Postproduction isn’t crucial,” Wallace says.”Lighting is crucial. I would hope to say that 60 to 70 percent of what I create is due to the lighting. I was told by one guy, I showed him a shot, and he said, ‘It’s fantastic, but it’s obviously CGI.’ And I said, ‘No, it’s not, it’s one light.’ And he was like, ‘Impossible.’ He was a car photographer, and he said, ‘You can’t do that with one strip softbox. That must be heavily Photoshopped.’ And then it was half an hour after that when I used the same softbox on the quarter-light of an Audi at that seminar. And, just for him, I reproduced the shot. It took less than three minutes to light and shoot, and it came out literally exactly the same with no Photoshop whatsoever. He was like, ‘You can’t do that.’ But I’ve just shown you that you can. ‘Yeah, but you can’t put a light there because you’re not allowed to do that.’ But you can do whatever you want.

“When I’m in Vegas for Photoshop World,” he continues, “one of the things I’m going to do is a live car shoot on stage. I love it because, when I do my introduction talk and some of my work is up behind me on the big screen, I know in my heart of hearts that the majority of the people in the audience are going, ‘Yeah, I really like that, but a lot of it’s probably postproduction.’ And you can see them thinking this. And then you get into play maybe only two or three lights, but you use them well, and you tether it up to the screen, so everything you shoot comes to the screen and they can see it. And I purposely do the first shot with my back to them, so I can just hear. I wait the two seconds for the delay of it transferring through the tether, and then I hear the gasping sound behind me and think, ‘Yes, now you’re going to listen. Now I’ve got you in the bag.’ You can’t reproduce lighting in Photoshop. You can to a certain degree with some things, but you can’t get the same depth, the same feel. It’s like shooting something on film and developing it and creating a really nice black-and-white print. And then doing the same thing in digital and doing the postproduction and doing digital prints. They’re not the same. I don’t care what anybody says. They’re not the same. There’s a depth to it. And I think in a way, that’s why I shoot wide open a lot. Because with a lack of depth of field, you sort of get depth. It’s difficult to describe. There are a few people who say to me, they’ve seen stuff of mine quite big in print, and they say, ‘It’s almost like film.’ Yeah, I’m pleased to hear that.”

hasselblad car photography


Tim Wallace considers great gear mandatory. He works with 35mm-style DSLRs and digital medium-format cameras, depending on the needs of the assignment. The Nikon D3S and D4S, as well as Hasselblad H3DII and H4 cameras with 39- and 50-megapixel digital backs, form the foundation of his kit.

When it comes to lens selection, the Hasselblad HC 50-110mm zoom is his go-to medium-format lens, and 28mm, 35mm and 80mm primes round out his bag. On the Nikons, he prefers a Nikon 24-70mm zoom, again complementing
it with Nikon 24mm, 50mm, 90mm macro, 200mm and 300mm primes.

Wallace’s choice in strobe lighting centers on Profoto and Elinchrom. He uses battery packs, such as the Elinchrom Ranger, when working in remote locations, and monoblock heads when access to electricity abounds. The strip-light softbox is his preferred light modifier.

Photography : ©Tim Wallace | AmbientLife
Interview : William Sawalich


Fashion Designer Yuliya Kyrpo new collection Inspired by the photography of AmbientLife

banner designer

Over the years many people have been ‘inspired’ by the shape and form that make Aston Martin so iconic throughout the ages, the photography of commercial car photographer Tim Wallace is renowned for how he captures these subtile shifts in shape and form to illuminate the grace and beauty of these automotive designs. Yuliya Kyrpo, a London based fashion designer and winner of ‘FDC Young Designer of the Year’ took some of Tim’s work with the models of Aston Martin and has used this to find her own inspiration in the creation of a collection of new exciting designs that imitate those subtitle shapes and forms.

Yuliya Kyrpo is Ukrainian born, based in London she is a bespoke tailoring designer and maker. Moving with her family to London at the age of 13, she successfully participated in various design competitions, being awarded FDC Young Designer of the Year in 2007, and awarded first place in METRO Re-Create competition by creating an origami dress out of 1000 paper cranes. Yuliya is a graduate of the infamous London College of Fashion where she discovered her passion for tailoring, structured silhouettes and everything luxurious. She lives and operates in London and is very much an up and coming name for the future within the fashion industry.

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

Yuliya -“I spent a vast amount of time researching the automotive industry and its high end luxury brands, the designs and the photography of those that were tasked with capturing their sheer beauty and elegance. I was seeking photography that really highlighted these shapes and forms, but in a gentle and creative way that could be reflected almost as art and could reflect my own strong personal vision for what I was seeking to achieve. There are many amazing photographers but no one captures the streamlined curves and fluidity of the cars as well as the work that I discovered from commercial car photographer Tim Wallace. Tim has a vast portfolio of work on his business site and I spent many hours studying his work and gaining my own inspiration from it to utilise some of the amazing shapes and curves that Tim is able to capture within his photography through his lighting and photography.”

“The concept for the final collection originates from the popular subject of female objectification with the intention to satirize the topic by making the clothes to look like engineered objects with ability to function and make women look powerful and confident to challenge ‘the male gaze’.
Inspired by streamlined silhouette and curves of cars, often used to personify female body and crafted using Savile Row tailoring techniques, the work epitomizes heritage and innovation through women’s bespoke tailored collection.”

You can enjoy more of Yuliya’s work and designs by visiting her main design site available online here

Tim - “I feel strongly that photography and the creation of work is an art form no matter what context it takes, commercial or design based, and it is a great honour for my own imagery to be utilised in such a way as Yuliya has. I am very pleased indeed that it has inspired her in such a way that it led to help in her own creation of this clothing and it is testiment itself in many ways that art and its form feeds its very nature and goes on to recreate itself in other forms. I wish Yuliya every success with her designs and her work for what I believe will be a very bright and exciting future within the fashion industry.”

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

Automotive Photography ©Tim Wallace | AmbientLife
Fashion Photography ©Roman Sheppard Dawson


The little car with the BIG heart – The Austin Mini Cooper S

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The MINI is one of those special cars that gets to define the vehicle class it belongs to. What makes it even more individual is that it got to be awarded the “European Car of the Century” award. This week car photographer Tim Wallace paid homage to the little car with the BIG heart by shooting a very lovely and original Austin Cooper S. The mini is without any doubt one of those car models that is so recognisable and loved all over the world.

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

TheMini is the small car icon of the 1960s. It was produced by BMC (British Motor Corporation) starting with 1959 and was the first car to get the front-wheel-drive. This space saving solution influenced all the manufacturers, as nowadays FWD is the most popular drive-train layout. The new MINI was launched in 2001 and got to replace the legend with updates for the 21st Century. The revolutionary design of the Mini was created by Sir Alec Issigonis (1906–1988), considered a visionary in industrial transportation. It was intended as an affordable vehicle in response to the oil crisis. Along its production period it was built at the Cowley plants in the United Kingdom, and afterwards in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. The first Mini, called the Mk I had three important updates: The Mk II, the Clubman, and the Mk III. Sportier versions were the Mini Mini Cooper and the Cooper”S”, that got to successful as rally cars. They even get to win the Monte Carlo Rally three times.

car photography and car photography

The Mini was designed as a result of the 1956 Suez Crisis, which reduced oil supplies, and forced the UK government saw to introduce petrol rationing. Obviously, the sales of large cars, with high fuel consumption dropped and the market for so called “bubble cars” boomed. BMC realized that they had to produce a small vehicle fast.
Issigonis, that was reputed as being very skilled in designing small vehicles was assigned to this task. Together with a small team of designers Issigonis got to produce the original prototype by October 1957. The new vehicle was using a conventional BMC four-cylinder water-cooled engine, but had the innovation of mounting it transversely with the the engine oil lubricated, four-speed transmission placed in the sump, and with FWD.

All of the small FWD cars developed since the 70s have used a similar configuration. Another innovation was the placement of the radiator at the left side of the car so that the engine-mounted fan could be retained, but with reversed pitch so it blew air into the natural low pressure area under the front wing. This saved a lot of vehicle length, but had the short coming of feeding the radiator with air that had been heated by passing over the engine.
Also the slinding windows in the doors allowed for storage pockets to be fitted in the space where a winding window mechanism would have been. A gossip says that Issigonis sized the resulting storage pocket to fit a bottle of his favorite gin. Another smart feature was the boot lid that had the hinges at the bottom, so that the car could be driven with it open to increase luggage space. The MK I models had a hinged number plate that dropped down to remain visible when the boot lid was open.

Another goal of the designers of that of keeping the manual labour costs as low as possible. The simple construction of the car included quirky welded seams that were visible on the outside of the car and also external door and boot hinges.

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

Tim – “For me personally the mini will always be a car that reminds me of my very early days driving, aged 19 I owned a Mini Cooper and absolutely loved that little car! It was not the smartest example of the model because back then money was tight and I even remember that to try and smarten it up a bit I gave it a new paint job, with a tin of black paint and a brush…lol.
The car never ever let me down and because it was so small and you sat so close to the ground in it, you really felt like you were doing about 100mph when really you’d be doing half that speed…. Corners at high speed were interesting and at times you did feel like you were in a space craft re-entering earths atmosphere, but the little car could really stick to the road and driving a Cooper was always a pleasure.”

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

The First Mini in production version shown to the press in April 1959, and by August several thousand vehicles had been produced ready for sales.

The name “Mini” was not used form the beginning of production. In early advertising material was used the name “SE7EN”. An already famous Morris model at that time was the Minor, which is Latin for “smaller”. So, for the even smaller car the decided to use the abbreviation for the Latin word “minimus”, which means “the smallest”.
In 1964 the MK I got a new suspension design using the “hydrolastic” system. This created a softer ride but was criticized by many for being too expensive and altering the handling of the car. Starting with 1971 the original rubber suspension was back again, and used until production end.

The sales were not very promising after the launch, but the Mini became a hit through the 60s, with a total of 1,190,000 Mk I’s produced. It is being rumored that the MK I wasn’t profitable for BMC, because it was sold at a lower price than the production costs, in order to be competitive on the market. Some even say that was due to an accounting error. A thing is for sure though, that the MK I got its own place into the culture of the 1960s.

In the late 60s Issigonis had been working for a replacement for the original Mini. That was supposed to be shorter and more powerful than the MK I, but due to management decisions at BMC it was not built. Instead of that the Mk II was released, featuring a redesigned front grille (which remained like that from that point) and also a larger rear window among other cosmetic changes. The Mk II Minis was produced in 429,000 pieces.
The MK II got famous by being the star of the 1969 film “The Italian Job”, that featured a car chase in three Minis are driven by a team of thieves. The movie got a remake in 2003 that used the new (BMW produced) MINI.

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

If you would like to learn more about lighting and how Tim works to achieve his photography then please join us online at KelbyOne where you can review and enjoy all of our online video classes, each of which is around a 1 hour in duration.

KelbyOne with Tim Wallace Checkout our online classes here at KelbyOne


2014 Exhibition – Darwin Opening night as the exhibition launches in the UK

travel photography

Opening night of the Darwin exhibition in the UK by photographer Tim Wallace. The opening night was a huge success with larger than expected crowds travelling to the gallery to enjoy the event, immerse themselves in the story and the photography as well as meet Tim and find out first hand his own experiences of the project and Darwin itself.
The exhibition launched in Newcastle, England and will be running onwards at the F-Stop Gallery there for the next 6 weeks.

car photography and car photography
Photographer Tim Wallace with representatives from Fuji UK who kindly supported the Darwin Project

car photography and car photography

car photography and car photography

The Darwin Dedicated Exhibition Site 2014 Now open here

The F-Stop Gallery has been hosting exhibitions for over 6 years now and we are really pleased to report that that Darwin exhibition has exceeded the record for the number of sales from an exhibition already after just 2 days!
The work seems to have really captured peoples imaginations and there has been massive interest from the art and photographic media throughout the UK and with some also in Europe.

Below are the 3 current top selling prints in the US and Europe for Darwin, editions limited to 25 only at the current opening exhibition price for Tim’s first public exhibition.
Size of the full product framed is 72cm x 53cm

travel photography

Tim – ” I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody to everybody who attended last night for the opening of the Darwin Exhibition, we had la fantastic time and it was a truly perfect night.
I could have not have hoped for a better evening and since last night the prints have been selling really well, even overnight into the US and other countries. Really very pleased that the work is getting such an amazing response, people are really enjoying it, and I received some really great feedback last night so again thank you! it is very much appreciated and I am so glad that people got to see and experience the work in print.
Finally a huge thank you to my wonderful lady for all her support and love, and all the other people that made this possible behind the scenes, the guys at digitalab for there amazing work and the fantastic prints that really are exceptional quality. Fuji UK for being a part of all this and their support in helping to sponsor this and for attending last night too, always great to see you guys, and finally to friends and others that attended to made it such a memorable and amazing night that I will always remember.
Also a huge thanks to Simon Moore for doing the behind the scenes pictures, thank you mate”

car photography and car photography

The History of Darwin

Death Valley was not a very hospitable place for a small group of men trying to make their way to the San Joaquin Valley. Camped in the Argus Range, they were hungry and close to exhaustion when it was discovered the only working gun was a rifle with a missing sight so killing any game for food seemed out of the question. An Indian guide said he could fix it and took the gun vanishing into the hills, he returned sometime later and the rifle had a new sight of pure silver. Some years later, one of the original party, a Dr Darwin French, returned to the Argus Range in 1874 to locate the mysterious “Gun Sight Mine” and he discovered silver and other mineral deposits and mining operations began soon after with the site, and later the town, being given the name of ‘Darwin’.
By 1877, Darwin had over 3500 people with water pumped down from springs in the surrounding mountains. There was a silver smelter, a Wells Fargo office, two general stores, a hotel, several saloons and a brothel. Because the site was isolated and populated by miners with little to do for recreation but drink, gunfights were common, and the outbound silver shipments were frequently the targets of gangs of bandits trying to steal the load. One large wooden building near the centre of town served as a schoolhouse, a saloon, and a brothel all at the same time!

In 1879 the miners staged a violent strike for higher pay culminating in a large fire, believed to be arson, that hit Darwin on April 30 of that year. Many buildings were destroyed, including mine offices, the mine operators quickly pulled out and the now permanently unemployed miners had no choice but to do the same and by 1880, the population of Darwin was only 85. But it never completely died…

1908 arrived and new lead and copper strikes were made in the area and people quickly began to return to Darwin. By the 1920s, the population was back up to several thousand and appears to have remained steady with the town growing and flourishing deep within Death Valley. In the early 1950’s mining was greatly expanded once again in Darwin, a new mining camp complete with housing facilities for workers was built and for a period in the late 1950s, Darwin was the largest producer of lead in the United States and flourishing town in all respects.

Around the late 1960’s whilst the town was booming things seem to have abruptly stopped, the miners and their families all left, many leaving their homes as they stood on the day that they all left town.
Almost as if they walked away, house doors left open, airstreams at the side on the drive and cars parked neatly in front of old picket fences.
Possessions remain still in place with their once busy homes, tins on the side in the kitchen, and beds laying neatly made with nothing more than a think layer of sandy dust, baking in the sunlight that shines through windows that have their drapes still hanging. There are no real records to why everybody suddenly left Darwin and indeed ‘how’ they all managed to leave as many of their trucks and cars remain, perfectly preserved in the continuous relenting heat of Death Valley, one of the hottest known places on earth with ground temperatures reaching such soaringly high levels that some area’s have no life at all, not even bacteria. The next nearest life to Darwin is over 100 miles away in any direction.

car photography and car photography

Tim - “I found myself in Death Valley moving through the Valley from South to North. Death Valley has always held a fascination for me in its sheer scale and beauty. I had pulled off onto a small clearing by the side of the road to refit the power lead to my GPS that had fallen loose, pulling off the main road in Death Valley is something that signs warn you not to do as soft ground can leave you stranded and once you are in this position with the distinct possibility of not having anybody pass you on the road for the rest of the day, its a dangerous manoeuvre at best. I distinctly remember looking up from the dash and catching a glint of something far down the valley to my left, it was then that I decided to risk it and start carefully driving down the track that led in that direction. The town itself is very hard to find and it was a my second visit to Death Valley trying to locate it, laying so far off the road along a very dusty track with no signs it is a place where it is very easy to pass it without ever knowing that it ever existed, very much the town that time forgot in many ways. Darwin itself is a truly amazing place and I really didn’t know what to expect as I pulled onto the dirt track that carried me into this totally silent abandoned area in the middle of the valley. It was early evening and the sky was a golden colour as the heat haze dropped in front of me making viewing anything in the distance across the valley floor very difficult. 6 miles off the main road quite literally in the middle of absolutely nowhere I came across the town sat in the base of the mountains, abandoned and shrouded in the sheer deafening silence that you experience only in places like Death Valley, a barrier across the track warning me to stay out.

I loved shooting in Darwin with all the amazing items and homes that have literally just been left behind as they stood many years ago, the rich textures and the amazing light that you get in Death Valley made the project one thats was very inspiring for me creatively as a photographer. I believe that as a professional photographer, ‘personal work’ is something thats very important to do each year, it in many ways offers us the freedom to express ourselves more through our work than perhaps day to day commercial work can with its demands and constraints. This entire body of work in Darwin was shot on my Fuji XPro1 and a 14mm f2.8 lens, with nothing else at all, just myself and the camera to capture what I saw before me.

I think the three main things that will remain with me always from my visit there was the sheer deafening silence as the sun dropped across the valley and left me and the town in darkness, the US Army truck with the bullet hole in the windscreen parked out of sight, and noticing that every clock that I came across had stopped at 4:20 on Sunday the 13th even though they were all ‘mechanical’…”

travel photography

Some recent media coverage for the Darwin Exhibition and listings in Uk Exhibitions to see

car photography and car photography

Darwin exhibition opening night 9 tim wallace


Exclusive Camera Collection Print Offer

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To celebrate the opening of the recent ‘Darwin’ exhibition we are delighted to announce that we have also just launched a special print offer featuring a collection of 4 montage high quality prints on Fujifilm’s Crystal Archive paper using the outstanding quality of the C-Type process for quality and archival stability, combining the tradition of silver paper with laser printing to ensure the very best results.

car photography and car photography

There are 4 different montage options to choose from and these come in 4 different sizes and are ideal for office display or studio wall display.

The sizes offered are 400mm x 400mm, 600mm x 600mm, 1000mm x 1000mm and 1200mm x 1200mm

The prints can be purchased from our dedicated ordering area Now open for orders here

car photography and car photography

From the age of 7 photographer Tim Wallace of AmbientLife has been obsessed with photography. At a very early age he first learned to print and develop film, totally inspired by the magic of watching the emerging image appear from under that warm flowing liquid of the developer. Over those years Tim has used many camera’s that have taken him through his journey of photography and creativity and this week Tim set himself a ‘personal project’ to document and record some of the many camera’s that he has shot with and collected over his lifetime behind the lens.

car photography and car photography

Tim - “For me photography has not so much been a career but an obsession over my lifetime, its the foundation of who I am and all that has driven me over the many years that I have been shooting. It is no secret to many that I still love to shoot film even now and for me that is a joy that I can immerse myself into away from my normal day to day commercial work which is firmly grounded within the modern digital era that we can now enjoy.
Film photography for me is almost like getting back to basics, its about the process of thought to work and achieve what you want to create through your lens and record that image into a piece of exposed film within the camera.

The camera’s themselves have changed but in many ways the approach that we have to the work that we create has not, sure we may feel more these days that we can ‘rescue’ or manipulate our images digitally, and indeed this is a huge benefit within the modern commercial world of photography but for me I have always loved the thought and practice of trying to really get as a close as I can to my final image in camera, film drives this passion and allows me to shoot from my heart and in many ways teaches me still to be a better photographer.

I have kept every single camera that I ever shot on from a film perspective over the years, each has their little quirks and joys, each has in many ways a personality and as such they bring their own dimension to a photograph, the lens properties of older camera’s are different to the more perfectly engineered lenses that we enjoy today but in many ways thats something that I really love. The older 50mm f4 Carl Zeiss lens that I shoot with sometimes on the Hasselblad film bodies is a lens that has a softness to its edges, a pleasing effect when used wide open.”

car photography and car photography

“I can still remember my very first picture that I ever took, it was a scene from a roof top looking across to a dockyard across the roof tops and aerials of the houses in front of me. I shot it on a Nikon F that belonged to my grand father and was not too sure on the exposure so when I developed the film I decided to heat that up slightly and extend the development time. I remember the negative being very ‘thin’ (under exposed) and the grain was significant but I spent an few hours in the darkroom printing various copies at different sizes and variants and from then on I was hooked totally. I was in love with the fact that I was able to capture the world, or at leads a brief moment of it and keep that forever. Many times when I was younger I was shooting on Nikons and even today I still use Nikon camera’s in my commercial work such as the D4 along side my Hasselblad H4 for medium format digital work, back then my trusty Nikon F was without a light meter that worked so I used to have to guess the exposure on many occasions, this taught me to appreciate the changes in light and how that impacts not only on a scene from an exposure point of view but also how that mixture of exposure and light intensity from the direction of the light in relation to the camera can impact so greatly on the contrast and tonality of a image captured.
It was not long before I was really trying to teach myself who i could mix the light properties in the everyday world with techniques I was discovering with the development stage of the film process. The possibilities seemed endless and it was then i think that I started to gain an understanding of light and how we can use this to create the images that we aim for in our minds when shooting”

car photography and car photography

“Over the years I have not only kept all the camera’s that I have shot on but also actively searched for camera’s that both inspire me and that fascinate me. Sometimes these have been camera’s that as a younger man I aspired to shoot with such as the Rolleiflex and Hasslblads but also camera’s that have ‘experienced’ life, that have seen things in their own lifetime and have some history to their very presence in this world, such as the older Nikon F2’s that served time with correspondents in wars such as Vietnam. For me these hold a fascination in themselves in that they were the very tools used to show the world some of the most important images of that time in our history. It is for me an honour and a privilege to be able to take these and restore them back to full use and once again breathe live back into them by shooting film through then once more.”

“Photography for me a journey rather than a destination and my love of film affair with film will carry on for the rest of my life along with my passion for some of the iconic camera’s that act act as the gateways between that we see in front of us and what we capture with the light through our lens. For many years my personal statement towards photography has always been that ‘out there shooting is where things happen’, and this will always be how I view my life, my future, the world, and how I can represent my view of that world through my lens”


Legend, the Shelby GT500

There are many cars that seem to live on forever and still hold our imagination years after leaving production, this can be said for the legend that is the Shelby GT500. The GT500 is one of the best known from the Shelby stable and is very evocative of the era in which it became a working class hero. We have some recent new work with the Shelby for this extraordinary car that still lives on today and is admired by so many people the World over.
car photography car photographer Shelby GT500
car photography car photographer Shelby GT500
In 1964, Carroll Shelby was asked to enhance the performance of the new Ford Mustang, and the legendary GT350 was born. Initially just for racing, the 1965 GT350 R Model began its dominance on American racing circuits and making a name for itself by winning the SCCA B production championship in 1965, 1966 and 1967.
Ford wanted to put a version on the street known as the GT350 The GT350 was essentially a de-tuned and reworked R Model and it catapulted Mustang into the world of high performance. It became one of the most popular and recognizable brands in the automotive industry. The performance evolution continued with the famed king of the road, the GT500.
car photography car photographer Shelby GT500
Carroll Shelby, the colourful American racing driver and engineer who shared the winning Aston Martin with Britain’s Roy Salvadori in the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour sports car classic, and who later gave his name to the iconic Shelby American Cobra high-performance sports car, has died at the age of 89.

The genial Texan’s trademark was his distinctive striped, bib-style racing overalls, which gave him a swashbuckling, Casey Jones-like appearance throughout a distinguished racing career that included eight world championship grand prix outings driving a private Maserati 250F, and latterly for the ill-starred Aston Martin Formula One team.

Born in Leesburg, Texas, the son of the town’s postmaster, Shelby was a child when his family moved to Dallas. Despite being diagnosed with a slight heart murmur at the age of 10, he served as a flight instructor with the US air force during the second world war. He went on to work in the truck business, before turning his hand to chicken farming, unsuccessfully, in the late 1940s.
aston martin car photography

car photography car photographer Shelby GT500

Meanwhile, Shelby had started to dabble in sports car racing, and by 1952 had gained a degree of recognition after some promising outings at the wheel of a Jaguar XK120, before switching to a fearsome, Cadillac-powered Allard the following year. In 1954, spurred on by the offer of a cup from Kleenex heir Jim Kimberly – one of the great US racing philanthropists of the time – for the best performance by an amateur driver, Shelby entered the Allard in the Buenos Aires 1,000km sports car race, co-driving with airline pilot Dale Duncan, who was a useful contact when it came to air freighting the car to Argentina.

This first competitive appearance outside the US for Shelby was memorable: he and Duncan finished 10th, despite a carburettor fire during a pit stop, which had to be extinguished by the simple expedient of Duncan urinating on the engine. More significantly, Aston Martin driver Peter Collins introduced Shelby to his team manager, John Wyer, who had been impressed with the Texan’s handling of the wild and woolly Allard. Shelby now had his foot in the door at Aston Martin, which would lead to a place in their works team – and that memorable victory at Le Mans five years later.

Like most of those who drove for Aston Martin in the 1950s, Shelby loved the team’s ambience, and he never seriously considered any of the fleeting, and possibly empty, offers to join Maserati or Ferrari. His Texan penchant for straight talking occasionally made David Brown, the Aston Martin company’s owner, wince: telling the boss one of his cars handled like “10 pounds of shit in a five-pound bag” was pretty strong stuff from a hired hand in the mid-1950s. Shelby recalled Brown’s reaction: “He got pissed off at that, turned round and walked away.”

Along with Salvadori, Shelby also took up the F1 Aston Martin DBR4s during the 1959 season. But these front-engined museum pieces were obsolete even before they raced for the first time, a new generation of mid-engined cars from Cooper dashing their hopes of success. At the start of 1960, Shelby suffered bad chest pains that alerted him to a now-serious heart condition. Despite attempting to control the situation by driving with nitroglycerin pills under his tongue, Shelby decided to retire from racing at the end of that year.

One of Shelby’s dreams had been the manufacture of a high-performance American sports car, so when he heard in 1961 that supplies of Bristol engines had dried up for the British AC company, he brokered a deal that saw AC switch to using a 4.7-litre Ford V8, and the famous Cobra was born. Ford backed Shelby’s efforts on the race track, and the Shelby Cobras were duly homologated as GT cars by the start of the 1963 international sports car racing calendar, when they were pitched against the Ferrari GTOs. In 1965, the Shelby Cobras won the FIA GT championship, wresting this prestigious title from their Ferrari opposition.
By 1970, Shelby was diversifying into other businesses outside motor racing, but in 1982 Chrysler boss Lee Iaccoca, an old friend, offered him the opportunity to serve as a performance consultant to the automotive giant, bringing him back into the motor racing orbit.

He is survived by his wife, Cleo, his two sons, Patrick and Michael, his daughter, Sharon, and his sister, Anne.

• Carroll Shelby, racing driver and engineer, born 11 January 1923; died 10 May 2012.

car photography car photographer Shelby GT500

car photography car photographer Shelby GT500


The Review Magazine – London – Interview with Commercial Photographer Tim Wallace


This month Tim Wallace spoke with ‘The Review Magazine’ about his work, his back ground and a little of what he in his roll as a UK based commercial automotive car photographer though his drive in creating photography today that have become iconic to some brands such as Aston Martin. Tim Wallace is a critically acclaimed photographer who’s breathtaking work spans the commercial and advertising industries. Tim started out in the darkrooms of the Daily Mail where he developed his unique appriecation for tone and contrast. Having had work published in the Times, Guardian and Independent, Tim’s career was clearly on track. Fast forward to the UK recession and Tim decided to join the Royal Navy and went on to serve with 42 Commando Royal Marines in many parts of the world. In 2006 Tim decided it was time to go back to a career in photography and so established AmbientLife. Over the past decade AmbientLife have worked with a Who’s who of automotive royalty, from Morgan and Aston Martin to Chevrolet and Lamborghini, Tim’s work is highly sought after. This is compounded by his string of awards; International Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year and UK Motor Industry Car Photographer of the Year to name but a few.
His ability to create shots that showcase a cars personality and soul are unparalleled. We take a look back at a selection of Tim’s fantastic body of work.

‘The Review Magazine’ Q2 Read the full magazine here

automotive car photography


Ambient Life Online

A selection of other online sites that offer a look into the work of UK Professional Photographer Tim Wallace.


Photographer Tim Wallace is the driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life.
An award winning photographer he is probably best known for his commercial car and advertising work.

Tim works with many well known brands and clients such as Aston Martin, Land Rover and Kenwood in the US, and has recently been named as one of the ten photographers to be selected by Hasselblad for the quality of his work and creative vision to represent their new 'Pro Team' to be launched in 2010.


August 2014
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