Tomek Makolski rose to prominence in the car community in 2018 when his hyper-real images of a life size Lego 911 GT3 RS navigating the streets of night-time Warsaw went viral. Two years later, a complementary project saw the experimental Polish photographer superimpose a Lego 911 RSR onto the barren and sun-drenched deserts of Dubai, producing another series of surreal but beautiful photographs that continued his motif of playing with perception and defying expectation.
Intrigued by how Makolski would interpret the all-electric Taycan, Porsche gave him the space to let his imagination run free. Needless to say, he once again did something unexpected, this time embarking on an exploratory European road trip that would provide dream-like backdrops for his vision of tomorrow’s automotive universe.
“After the Lego projects, we were talking about doing something new together and Porsche suggested the idea of shooting the Taycan,” Makolski says. “It made me think about the future of mobility and the goal of the series became to show electric cars being that much more prevalent on the streets.”
Makolski’s adventure began at Porsche in Stuttgart, taking in locations in Munich and Innsbruck before crossing the Austrian Alps and plunging down through France to Monaco. From here he would head east along the coast to Marseille before returning to Stuttgart, a total journey of around 3,000 kilometres. The objective was to seek out primarily urban and futuristic landscapes for the project, juxtaposing colour and vibrancy with stark modern settings.
“I had a few locations scouted and found some more while on the road just by doing research,” Makolski explains. “I hadn’t even planned to go to Monaco initially, but my old assistant had just finished a job there and really wanted to be part of the project. In the end I got a really nice shot across the city to the coast. And from there we decided to go to Marseille. I’d never been and it was amazing, a truly eclectic mix of beautiful modern architecture and old buildings. It looked great, the light was stunning and the Taycan got so much attention there.”
Some of the inspiration for Makolski’s work came from the 2013 sci-fi film ‘Her’, directed by Spike Jonze and starring Joaquin Phoenix. “It was very futuristic,” he explains, “but on the other hand much of the aesthetic was from the 1970s and 80s: lots of similar colours and very clean architecture and backdrops. I wanted that in my project.”
Makolski approached Ink – a London-based creative studio – who became involved in the creative process as well as the delicate job of post production, retouching the images with minimal interference to enhance their simplicity while preserving the original colouration.
“The Taycan, especially in Frozen Berry, looks amazing – almost alien,” Makolski says, “so I decided to multiply it in each location to increase that futuristic, almost sci-fi atmosphere. But there is no CGI or rendering as I knew that would look too artificial. So once I had found the right frame, I parked the car in every single position.” With multiple photographs shot in each location, INK then overlaid them to produce a final image to match Makolski’s super-real vision ‘of a world filled only with electric cars’.
Having traversed Europe in the Taycan, Makolski’s road trip turned into something of a journey of discovery for the photographer. “For me it’s hard to say goodbye to the combustion engine because driving is my passion,” he says. “I have to admit that I was really against electric cars, but driving the Taycan somehow convinced me. It’s really relaxing and quiet, but also very stable in fast corners. My dream garage now would be a Taycan 4S for daily commuting and a 911 GT3 for the weekends. I was unsure before, but now I’m excited about the future of mobility, even if a part of me will always be a petrolhead!”
Photographer: Tomek Makolski
Creative retouch: Ink Studio