We went to the Bristol Italian Automoto Festival on Saturday. A great event on many levels, not least because it’s actually held on the streets of Bristol, and there’s something undeniably cool about seeing everything from Fiat 500s to Ferraris packing the city centre. There’s also more than a hint of irony about the whole thing – Bristol’s council is among the most overtly anti-car.
Maybe it’s the location, maybe it’s the fact that Italian cars are widely regarded as being the most beautiful in the world, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people taking pictures. I may be more sensitive to this than most – after all, I take pictures for a living – but I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve been to an event with a greater density of happy snappers. Camera phones to pretty full-on pro gear, male and female, young, old and indifferent. Everyone was doing the David Bailey.
It left me with a couple of questions. The obvious. Was the BIMF the most photographed event I’m ever likely to go to? But perhaps more importantly, what happens to all these pictures? Keen photographers used to go on holiday, take a thousand shots on slide film and then bore their friends and relatives rigid with impromptu slide shows. But at least their pictures found a wider, albeit unwilling, audience. Are the pics taken on Saturday just destined to be left in the modern equivalent of the never opened, dusty bottom drawer?