Photographer Claus Bachl, 57, a keen motoring enthusiast since his childhood, has chosen to focus his work – although the word art is probably more apt here – on the “underside” of vehicles. How long has he been doing this and why? “It’s actually a very exciting perspective, since it reveals the whole technical side of a vehicle, in other words its very DNA. Yes, that’s what appeals to me so much about underbody photography, which I’ve been practising for about five years now. Plus: there are currently a handful, at most, of photographers in the world doing this sort of underbody photography at more or less my level. Perhaps just three photo artists who have specialised in it, like me.”
The Austrian photographer does indeed achieve a stunning level of quality, which loses nothing of its piercing sharpness and brilliance when the works are enlarged to a size of two, three or even five metres, he says.
Might it even be possible to reproduce a vehicle in its original size? “That wouldn’t really be a problem either”, the photo artist responds. That way, you could even read the transmission and engine numbers, and identify other characteristic features specific to a particular vehicle, however minute they may be.
How he goes about a photo shoot of this nature and what equipment he actually uses for his photography, he does not reveal, other than to say that he’s the one who drives the cars on to the hydraulic ramp in readiness for the shoot: “This is my trade secret.” Did the photo shoot that he did for Classic magazine involve any particular challenges? Claus Bachl reflects briefly: “I was dealing this time with some true icons of automotive history. So although it was a lot of fun, there was also a lot of respect involved.”