Lara Platman – ‘A Passion for Performance’

In an interview with Leica’s Jenny Hodge, photographer and journalist, Lara Platman, enthuses wildly about her three passions in life: classic cars, dancing and photography…

Tell us something about you…

I believe I was born in the wrong age! I love the 1930s and 40s – they were very classic, theatrical times. I took my degree in Fine Arts, which led to an appreciation of photography. At the same time, I’ve always loved classic cars, something I inherited from my father who owned an old Westminster. My first job was an assistant to a dance photographer which inspired my love of dancing, then I moved to Country Life magazine who sent me to Goodwood Revival. That’s where I discovered theatre and cars all in the same place! I love movement, and stories – and above all, I love people. I like to document their expressions with my Leica M6 – and now my M9. Being a photographer can sometimes be a lonely job but at every event I find I make friends, and I certainly never feel alone. I also appreciate the history and pedigree of classic cars – just like Leica cameras, in fact!

What’s the link between cars, dancing and photography, then?

It’s all about performance, and movement, and capturing a moment in time. Every classic car tells a story – for example, one of the cars I saw recently at Monza had been driven by Sir Stirling Moss at Le Mans.  Dancing and theatre have always been part of my life, and I’ve managed to integrate all my passions through photography.

How do you keep up with all the classic car events? Which ones have you visited?

I read publications like Historic Racing Car News, but I also know lots of people who travel regularly to these events – Silverstone, Goodwood, Monte Carlo, Monza – everyone talks about them and you just tend to pick up the information. I’ve made some amazing friends traveling to these races.

Have you ever thought of teaching photography?

Yes, I used to teach photography to children, Art Foundation students and people with learning disabilities.

What other projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’m currently working on a personal project photographing women racing drivers, with both historical and contemporary cars. I love the passion they have for their driving and the cars. This will involve well-known female drivers such as Jodie Kidd and Elizabeth Halliday. The cars will include Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Ferrari. I’ve been so inspired that I would like to get my racing license. I’d love to drive a in a rally one day!

I’m also researching a classic road trip, which I plan to arrange with a friend I met on Twitter. We want to replicate the trip with a Ferrari – we’re going to photograph and blog it and would love someone to offer to film it for a documentary or sponsor us – maybe there’s someone out there who could help??

Do you prefer shooting on film or digital?

I feel there’s a place for both. I don’t believe film will ever die – it’s still fantastic for books, and poster-sized prints such as those you see on the sides of buildings. Although digital can also achieve this, too, of course. I’m never without my Leica M9 these days.

How has the Internet and social media affected your work – has it helped you?

Absolutely. I have a blog that I use to document my travels in both words and photographs. I have a journalism degree, and I find the blog is a good way to record my work, just like a diary. I also write a blog for an Italian dance festival, reviewing and photographing dance shows, which has lead me to a regular column in Hoop-Lab.com an Italian magazine It’s definitely led to more work for me. I’ve been commissioned to write articles and features on the strength of the content from my own blog, too. I’ve also made lots of friends on Twitter and it’s generated several opportunities for me.

Has your work with classic cars and dance led to any media appearances?

Yes, I am due to appear on on BBC Worldwide’s Outlook programme very soon and am currently arranging an interview with Woman’s Hour (Radio 4). Watch this space!

Thanks Lara – and good luck with all your forthcoming projects!

-Jenny Hodge

To follow Lara on Twitter, click http://twitter.com/Photo_Feature and to read her blog, visit  http://www.photofeature.co.uk/.