2014 was a wonderful year of shooting of great assignments, the opportunity of seeing new parts of world, and working with very talented people. One assignment stands out from the rest, a place I had never been before, but have definitive plans to return.
Early on Monday morning following a very long week of covering the LeMans 24 Hours, I was part of a 4 car convoy of journalists on a 3 day whirlwind assignment through France and Belgium. The final destination of this day was in the north east corner of France.
My only previous knowledge of Reims, France is a beautiful black & white photograph that hangs in my office of the start of the 1955 Grand Prix. The image was taken by the great Jesse Alexander. The frame is taken from the last row of the grid, Jesse standing in the middle of the road, and in the distance the viewer sees the grandstands on both sides of the circuit and the far horizon of the French countryside.
We arrived in late afternoon, winding through endless vineyards that produce some of the best champagne in the world. Later that evening and the following morning time was taken to explore the city including Notre-Dame de Reims, the place of most of the coronations of French monarchs and Saint Remi Basilica. But the current destination was the same location as Jesse's photograph - the grandstands of the grand prix circuit - still standing along the two lane public road. This historic racing landmark did not disappoint. It is virtually the same as it was 50 years ago. Yes the logos are a bit faded, some of the concrete a bit cracked, however, it is alive with the spirit and history of racing. It sits alone along this road, surrounded by tranquil green and golden fields.
Spending time here was the highlight of my photographic year. I love France anyway - the people, their appreciation of art and photography, and the history this marvelous country holds. Reims is one of the most beautiful parts of this country or any country I have visited. Perhaps the best part of this trip to Reims is remind myself to take my eye away from the viewfinder, take time away from the deadlines, and simply appreciate the simplicity and beauty that surrounds me every day.