OVER A DECADE AGO I WAS ASSIGNED TO SHOOT MY FIRST AUTO SHOW, and it was a huge part of my reawakened passion for cars. Media Day at the Canadian International Auto Show was a much bigger affair then, spreading through the whole of the downtown convention centre and into the Skydome nearby. As a photographer, it gave you the only chance you'd have to shoot the cars in a relatively uncrowded setting, before thousands of hands had run over the the paint and smeared the windows and lights.
It's a smaller auto show now, for a lot of reasons not worth going into here, and even Media Day was scaled back this year, but I had my accreditation again and wasn't going to miss an opportunity to capture the details and art unique to auto design, or the peculiar spectacle of an auto show in general, and the Media Day in particular.
This year was the first one I was under no obligation to shoot anything to illustrate an article on upcoming auto trends, so I decided to enter the show without a safety net. I put a fisheye lens on one of my DSLRs and a LensBaby on the other, and didn't bother packing a standard zoom lens for backup. I was hoping to get something that represented how I remember the highlights of an auto show - a record of the best bits of the cars I'd seen, recalled in a feverish reverie.
It's probably no surprise that there were no shots of Civics or Fiestas or Elantras on my camera's memory cards when I got home. Race cars and concepts and classic cars buffed and shined lovingly by proud owners; this is what got me really excited at that first auto show media day back in 2006, and it's what will probably keep pulling me back to convention centres and parking lots, museums and golf courses and public parks over and over again, with or without my camera.
This was probably also my last year with press accreditation, since the source of my credentials for the last six years decided that auto show coverage is no longer justified by the readership numbers. Maybe someone else might ask me to cover the Canadian International Auto Show again, but right now it looks like the wide open spaces of Media Day are over for me, and I'll be back to ogling the cars in the midst of the crowds again.