Cars & Curves, Vol. 2 

by Stefan Bogner and Ben Winter

“Something else we have observed is the fact that a traditional brand like Porsche seems to keep people who fall under its spell extremely youthful. Regardless of whether they are 85 or 16 years old, Porsche people are full of stories and personal experiences that exert a tremendously powerful force, indelible testimonies that are surprisingly similar in energy. So, if you ever hear talk of brand DNA, you should know that it really does exist at Porsche and can be directly transferred between the cars and their fans and drivers.”

(German / English side by side) “Brand DNA” . . . that elusive elixir that all brands that have been around for a while like to claim. If you have a Porsche and—this is the crucial part—hang out with other Porsche folk, you know that the Porsche tribe really is not quite like any other. There are good explanations for that, and while the book doesn’t spell them out they are detectable in the variety of models that despite their differences (old/new, affordable/mega expensive, off the rack/ultra rare) have a key factor in common: they are, always, sports cars on the sharp end of the spectrum, meaning they appeal to only certain people.

Pretty cool: two sports cars on a road that looks just right for them.
Very cool: these are original 550 Spyders.
Beyond cool: they belong to father and son who both love to drive.

This book, volume 2, is a snapshot/highlight reel of ten years worth of Curves magazine. (Volume 1, in 2018, celebrated the 70th anniversary of Porsche.) Considering that each edition of the “magazine” clocks in at around 170–250 pages means that the short “articles” in this 430-page book really don’t quite capture it. If you’ve not seen Curves, think of it as a travel guide specifically for people who like to “take the long way round,” meaning the act of journeying and the means by which you journey are as—no, more—important than the arriving. Consider the magazine’s title in that light and you see how apt it is; ditto for its “soulful driving” logo. 

While the magazines, each devoted to a country (or, in large countries like the US, parts thereof) contain many, many words this book contains barely more than one column of text in each language. Here, instead, it is up to the photos to spark the imagination.

If all you see here is an off the cuff snapshot, gift your camera to someone more deserving.

You can’t help but wonder: did this scene just happen to play out on its own, or did Bogner orchestrate it? It would take some mighty good planning/timing to have car and bike meet up at just the right spot on the road, with the curving guardrail in the background, and the mountains on the right getting obscured by cloud drift.

Both Bogner and Winter are professional photographers and writers, and they are long-time collaborators. Look closely and you will realize that great thought has been given to composition, even if it’s just one car on one road.

Some of the captions say what the car is, some don’t. Since it isn’t space that is the limiting factor you can’t help but question the wisdom of this choice. This 917/38 is part of a photo sequence involving three cars and each of the captions contains the exact same wording—meaning it’s up to the reader to work out what’s what. In this case, the simple logic of elimination will yield an answer but in the photo below, this historic car is not identified nor even mentioned in the text which deals with the Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca. (It’s the 356 SL Gmünd coupé that ran the Liège-Rome-Liège rally).

From the grittiness of the tarmac to blades of grass to the shapes of building, each little thing has to contribute to the overall impact. Unlike a controlled studio shot there is only so much you can stage in the wild, and the odds of being “in the right place at the right time” are slim. You mustn’t rush through this book, wondering how many ways are there to show a Porsche carving up a mountain road—you’ll be surprised!

Just who do you have to bribe to be allowed to take the Mission E concept car out on the road?

Cars & Curves, Vol. 2 
by Stefan Bogner and Ben Winter
Delius Klasing Verlag, 2021    [In US: ACC Art Books]
432 pages, 248 color photos, hardcover
List Price: $60
ISBN-13: 978-3667121578

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