Save up to 60% on all Fstoppers tutorials

You Must Check out the Making of the Amazing 'Silver Arrows'

This is it... I've come across the mother lode of photography personal projects that will just blow you away. Czech photographer Jan Rambousek and Creative Director Tomas Kopecny were inspired to visually recreate some of the most noteworthy scenes from Grand Prix racing during the 1930s. The series is entitled "Silver Arrows" due to the fact that Mercedes race cars were dominating the race series during that time period. The final images are incredible and gorgeous, but what's even more amazing is the research, detail, and overall production that went into creating these images. Prepare to be inspired and amazed.

The artists' statement about the photo series:

Join us and experience the most celebrated moments of the story of the Silver Arrows as they unfold right before your eyes in breathtaking scale. Our large format prints provide detail that could never have been captured with the photographic technology of the time.

Using a combination of original photography with the most advanced 3D graphics we brought the legendary silver cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union — along with other famous brands — back to life.

We’re confident that our story of the Silver Arrows and the people involved will feel as authentic to you as they did to the hundreds of thousands of spectators in the stands in era of the asphalt burning legends.

...Only a limited amount of material is preserved from the original 1934-1939 races, but we found as much text, photography, and film as we could, and pored over it until our eyes bled.

The goal: To achieve perfect historical accuracy and realism in every composition, down to the last detail. From the design of the cars to the type of welding on their bodies, from the landscape of the locations to the clothing of the crowd — we wanted everything to look just right.

It was a labor of love, and we think its fruits paid off. We hope you’ll think so too.

Never before have I seen a photo series be created with such painstaking pre-production. First they extensively reviewed various historical documents and photographs:

Next they did a lot of sketches and storyboarding to prepare for each image they planned to create:

"In step with our research of historical facts, most of our original sketches went through major transformational changes from concept to execution."

Computer graphics played a large part in this project. As you can imagine, if there are any surviving 80-plus-year-old Grand Prix race cars, they are probably priceless and sitting in a museum or some heavily guarded personal collection. Also, a lot of the race tracks from that era simply no longer exist, so they had to create a lot of the various iconic race cars, tracks, and locations via CGI. Some of you may argue that this is not photography, but in my opinion, this is all art. Without CGI, these glorious images would not have been possible whatsoever.

"Not all cars are created equal. Not even those on the same team. Mercedes Benz, Auto Union, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Bugatti — the main players at the time — were developing new models every year and constantly playing around with modifications from race to race. This meant that almost every car had its own personality, construction, and nuances — good or bad — at any given moment. The actual cars that still exist are in museum quality and do not represent the multitude of variations of the other models they raced with at the time. With this in mind, we had to create a virtual stable of more than 20 perfectly detailed models that we could modify to match their specific configurations for any period in their history."

Of course, a lot of actual photography took place in this series as well. For this, they went above and beyond to cast period actors and dress them in appropriate clothing and props and captured them over a five day period. As you can see from the video, green screen played a large part in the process.

"Over 200 hundred costumes, more than 50 people, five days, and three locations helped bring the story of the Silver Arrows back to life."

There is so much more behind-the-scenes content to be seen. You must visit the "Silver Arrows" website and see all of the beautiful work they have created and learn how they did it.

You can also purchase gorgeous prints from the site that range from small and affordable to gallery size for you high-rollers out there. Maybe a print to go over your collection of 1930s Mercedes Grand Prix race cars. See some examples of their final images and prints below. Which one is your favorite?

God I love this shot

Some behind-the-scenes photos:​

All images used with permission.

Log in or register to post comments


Jasper Verolme's picture

I have seen the Silver Project before, What I love is how the show the beginning to end of the project. This is the first time I see the pic on a more decent size. It was always uploaded low-res.

Thanks for sharing Douglas! It sure is amazing!
Question for you. Did you so far worked in the automotive industrie with 3d rendered car's? It's kind of a logical step coming up in that field, Even a bit threatening for some. Whats your opinion? doesn't worries you?

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture


Joshua Baker's picture

CG or Photo or Both, doesn't matter. The artists vision and passion is what screams from these images. Just amazing