Born in Leicestershire, England – not far from the Mallory Park racing circuit – photographer Amy Shore is admittedly fond of country roads, red phone booths, and pubs. We meet her at an elegant white gate in Westhampnett near Chichester, behind which are the expansive grounds of the Duke of Richmond’s famous Goodwood estate.
His family home, Goodwood House, has a garden so large that a racetrack fits inside it. The place is a mecca in the world of classic motorsports, with the Goodwood Revival celebrating racing cars and traditional attire from the 1940s to the 1960s.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed – an annual summer event that draws in excess of 200,000 guests – was due to take place here a few weeks ago. Had it done so, modern and classic vehicles would have spent several days driving up the 1.86-kilometre hill climb circuit. It would have been loud and exciting, with the meadows full of jovial spectators. Instead, unusually tall grass blankets the grounds. It almost seems as if you can hear it growing, such is the silence.
Shore gets out of the Volcano Grey Porsche Taycan Turbo. A brown leather harness criss-crosses her back. “I know it looks like a horse’s bridle, but it’s perfect because it allows me to keep both cameras at my fingertips without them banging into each other.” The 29-year-old grabs the Nikon D6 on her right hip, the 35-millimetre lens focuses on the sports car at the racetrack’s starting line and she presses the shutter button. “I love first-class lenses. This one here gives the viewer the feeling of being right there at the scene of the event.”
On the left side of the leather harness hangs a Nikon D850 with an 85-mm lens. “It’s my favourite focal length for close-ups,” says Shore. She received her first Nikon camera from her parents at the age of 16. Her father, a paint spray technician by profession, passed down his passion for photography to his daughter. “I never thought I’d be able to make a living doing this. That’s why I studied metal- and silversmithing,” she says. “I earned my pocket money as a wedding photographer.”
One summer day in 2013, she was commissioned to photograph a replica of a classic car. “I didn’t know anything about cars,” Shore confesses. She recalls an adage by business tycoon Richard Branson that sometimes you just have to do something and learn from the experience. “I have followed that advice ever since.” The job was the beginning of her career and the development of her own personal style. Known as ‘Amy Style’ in the industry, it has become shorthand for the particular intimacy and authenticity embodied by her photos.
“I like honest photography.” Amy Shore
Today, for example, the sky is wonderfully grey and dramatic. Shore looks for an imaginary picture frame for her composition of light, colour, and form. She does not use artificial light or flash – the result would be too unreal for her taste. “As long as my eyes can still see, my cameras can capture that exact picture. I like honest photography.”
She looks up into the treetops gently jostling each other as if conspiring to keep a secret below the canopy. Shore asks Craig Callum to position the all-electric sports car far off in the distance. “There are already a hundred thousand pictures of the Taycan; I want to tell my own story.”
She navigates her professional driving assistant and backstage photographer in perfect silence – a respectful nod to the unaccustomed tranquility of the grounds she knows so well. She’s affectionately known as the Queen of Goodwood among colleagues. She directs the Taycan into the desired position using gestures. Her left wrist is adorned with colourful friendship bracelets – one in rainbow shades to show her support of the LGBTQ+ community, and another that matches her mother’s, as family is so important to her.
After shoots, she calls her parents to tell them about her experiences. And yesterday, when she met the Taycan, was no exception. “It was the first Porsche I ever drove,” she says, somewhat at a loss for words. “Whooosh! I couldn’t believe the acceleration.” Shore philosophises about the sound of the future and emotions in images. She and Callum had never before seen so many animals on a car shoot. “The Taycan allows you to be part of nature; it’s like Zen meditation.” She loves animals. And Cat Moss is waiting for her at home – her cat, named after racing driver Sir Stirling Moss.
Shore aims to meld the beauty of the landscape with the modernity of the sports car. Ferns swaying cinematically in the wind find a new grounding in reflections in the shiny surface of the car. Again and again she looks the Taycan in the eye. As the light fades, she sits cross-legged in front of her subject, scrolls through her pictures, and looks up with a smile. The headlights go out. It’s almost as if the Taycan is saying thank you contentedly.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine Christophorus, No. 396.