Harry recounts his meeting with 5 time winner of the 24 Hours Le Mans race, Mr Emanuele Pirro.

Opus had the fantastic opportunity to meet Mr Emanuele Pirro, 5 time winner of the 24 Hours Le Mans race. Emanuele was in the UK racing in the 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting over the weekend of 18/19 March. The venue for our photo and signing session was the incredible Music Room in Goodwood House itself. Driving up to Goodwood House was something out of a Hollywood comedy – lined up were brand new Rolls Royce Ghosts (am guessing lent by the local Rolls Royce production facility, seems uncouth to call it a car factory), Range Rover Vogues and Audi A8 & Q7 (if you are a car person I can confirm NOT all the Audis were grey!!) and then the dynamic duo from Team Opus drive up in a 10 year old bronze coloured Toyota Land Cruiser. Emanuele was delightful and helpful in all manners. Whilst we were setting up the photographic equipment and the Hall of Fame signature sheets, walking through the Music Room with a smile in his racing overalls was Mr Nicholas Berkeley Mason, better known as Nick Mason the drummer of supergroup Pink Floyd, who is also photographed and featured within The Official Ferrari Opus.

There was a first for me at this photoshoot in that Emanuele asked what lens we would be using and what position we will be placing the camera, it turns out Emanuele has more than a passing interest in photography, thankfully prominent and professional photographer Steve Theodorou was at hand. The two of them had a discussion regarding type of lens, aperture, manual or automatic focusing, use of the grey backcloth… it seems the two of them are die hard Canon fans. I knew when to go quiet and let two keen photographers discuss their craft. Personally I see nothing in wrong in placing it green mode – that’s Auto mode and click and go – bit like my shampoo and other activities I am banned from writing about (you know what I mean).

During the photoshoot Mr Emanuele was a natural, naturally (is that correct grammar? need to ask my old English teacher Mrs Hopkins the determining factor being shouted at or getting a clip around the head meaning it isn’t. The memories of being a 70’s child). Anyway back to the photoshoot and so keen was Emanuele that after each pose he would view the results not just to see if the exposures were any good, which I can assure you they were with Steve on the case; but also how he could improve his facial expressions. With this photoshoot we went for moody, thoughtful and smiling – as we were reminded racing drivers do smile occasionally.

At this point Emanuele’s youngest son joined us in the Music Room and started talking to Steve and asking him questions how he took photographs and interestingly also asked Steve the benefits of manual focus to automatic focus in portrait shots. I simply piped up do you also own a Canon trying to sound knowledgeable the answer was a yes only because Mr Pirro Senior had all the glass (camera lenses to you non-creatives types) and other hardware, so why buy when you can take your father’s – being from a mathematics background myself the logic made perfect sense.

We tried various poses to stop the monotony, this is where I piped up once again (repetition I know, but numbers and not words are my forte) wanting a certain pose to be taken. After explaining what I wanted photographs were taken and the conclusion was that I had a good idea, the only BUT being Emanuele wished to have the same poses with softer facial expressions.

Coming to the close of our photograph and signing session, it was great to see that we were originally allocated 30 minutes but Emanuele in total stayed with us for 80 minutes. Being the consummate professionals that Steve and I are, we constantly asked if he was OK for time. And (I know I know never start a sentence with And) he just waived the time issue away and carried on talking motorsports and photography and ensuring both Opus and himself were happy with the results – a couple of which can be seen in this news story. 

Next Job: Mr Derek Bell at the end of the month at his home.

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