Vroom! Vroom!

vroom-vroomby Koto Bolofo

“Surrounded by revving Bugattis in Tim Dutton’s workshop on a farm in rural Buckinghamshire: Beauty, Power, Luxury and Masterpiee designs as relevant today as 100 years ago; each component skillfully ‘Made in Britain’ by hand, identical to the Molsheim originals; my face wrapped in deep concentration; listening to the ‘Art of Noise’ of hammering, screeching, spinning high-speed drills, and wooden mallets beating ceaselessly on flat pieces of metal.

 Like magic, a curve and shape emerge, recorded by my camera. Click! Click! Vroom! Vroom! The photographs take one on a journey of artistic innovation and aspiration.”


Open the front cover and—pause. (Works from the back too.) What do you see on the endpapers? Are you seeing anything? [1]


vroom+louversThis little exercise opens the eyes, and the mind, to the world that photographer Koto Bolofo inhabits. It’s the same world you and me share with him but, because of the way we see, experience oh so differently.

If metaphysical ruminations don’t get your motor running, treat this as “just” a car book, specifically a Bugatti book. The quote above is the only narrative in the entire book, meaning that the passing reference to “Tim Dutton’s workshop” may fail to alert the casual reader that we’re dealing with Ivan Dutton Ltd., the third-generation Bugatti specialist where 12 people tend to usually 20 vintage Bugs a year in their 20,000 sq ft facility in an area of England that Tim (son of Ivan son of Victor) Dutton calls “the silicone valley of the motor-racing industry.”


vroom+impellerAnd it is the people, the tools, materials, and a handful of cars that Bolofo puts before the lens. While the photos are of a specific time (2007) and place they speak of timeless things.

If you are the sort of person who likes to be surrounded by mechanical bits on your desk or bookshelves, all cleaned up but still with that unique smell that years of oil and fire and friction have imparted to the metal, or if you’ve ever turned a lathe or even only driven a nail into a board, you’ll relate to this book. vroom+illo

And if you’re a photographer, well, then you’ll look at the images, and also their splendid reproduction in this fine, large-format book by German art publisher Steidl, and you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

If a photographer who one the one hand chases fleeting, ethereal glimpses can say that on the other hand he is no rush when he takes his photos (“If I miss a great moment, it will come again.”) the least the viewer can contribute to the process is to also not rush.


  1. Drill bits in the front and metal shavings in the rear. Both images are also shown in the book, on facing pages in fact, but rotated, just to make it more of a challenge.


vroom gauge chassis

Photos: © Vroom! Vroom! by Koto Bolofo, published by Steidl


Copyright 2017, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).

Vroom! Vroom!
by Koto Bolofo
Steidl, 2010
96 pages, 84 b/w photos, hardcover
List Price: $65
ISBN-13: 978-3865219619

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