Florian Kresse meets Günther Raupp, who has shot the photos for Ferrari’s legendary calendar for more than 30 years, but next year's digital version will have a whole new dimension: It's audible as well as visual.
FK : Günther, you are a photographer, artist and creative mastermind. Please give us a short description of your career progression and your creative works.
GR : That’s hard for me to describe. I studied Painting and Art History at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart and already had some exhibitions of my painting at that time. Then there was my quick start with photography at the Art Academy and then I moved to audiovisual media. The connection of unconventional photography to music and movement was very fascinating to me.
The Stuttgart State Gallery is the most famous art institute in the southwest of Germany. The institute invited me to create some audiovisual artwork on Venice while I was a student. I presented this over eight months in an individual exhibition.
Afterwards, I became self-employed, creating audiovisual media. The productions for my first client Knoll were so spectacular that other renowned companies immediately booked me: AEG, BASF and Kodak, to name just a few.
After two years, the first automobile clients: FIAT, Lancia, Porsche and Jaguar started contacting me.
I was more and more in demand as an automobile advertising photographer. In Europe and America, I have just about the entire automobile alphabet on my reference list. From A for Audi, B for Buick up to V for Volvo. During my life, I worked for months in Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, for example. Of course, you taste blood when your own personal style and creativity are in demand even over there [in the United States].
FK : That sounds exciting. How did you get started with Ferrari and how long have you been working for them?
GR : Ferrari is haute cuisine – that’s where I want to go if automobiles are my subject.
Already very early on, in the summer of 1984, I had photographed my first Ferrari calendar on my own initiative and had it printed, bound and processed – which would be suicide today in terms of trademark law.
However, at that time, I sent a sample of this first edition to Enzo Ferrari who immediately answered and thanked me with lots of good wishes from the Commendatore and a “just keep at it, young man!”
The rest is well known: the famous Italian sports car producer soon put a contract on the table with the proposal that I should create the official Ferrari calendar from then on. So, photography, graphic design, and overall production monitoring. The 2018 calendar is my 34th Ferrari calendar in a continuous unbroken stretch since 1984.
FK : Your focus has been on photography – how come audio now too?
GR : Every Ferrari is a complete work of art with a wide, unbelievably sensual range! Of course, it looks captivatingly beautiful. But the sound when the engine accelerates gives goose bumps and the intense scent of racing and sports cars is a pure seductive perfume!
As an artist, I have wanted to convey this multichannel fascination for a long time, with my Ferrari calendars. Now, in the 2018 printed calendar, you can smell the perfume of Ferrari. The digital Ferrari calendar app is being launched in the new year, which offers an Italian opera of engine sounds for enjoyment.
There are only about a dozen experienced sound engineers that specialize in recording vehicles in action. They are based in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, and, of course, in Hollywood. Obviously, I transfer the quality I achieved as a Ferrari photographer on the sound recordings of the engines. I mean to bring out those goose bumps I mentioned previously in my recordings.
Listen to an example from the Ferrari 2018 digital calandar