Where it all started

I am often asked when my interest in automobiles and racing began. To be honest, I can’t remember when I first became enamored with all things automotive, but the thread that goes back as a real defining moment in my life was when, at the encouragement of my older sister, my parents gave me a camera for Christmas. It was a roll film Yashica D, a Japanese carbon copy of the German Rolleiflex.   It wasn’t really high quality, but for a young man of sixteen, it was sufficient.   I really did not start out to be a photographer, but used the camera to record automotive moments in my life….chasing prototypes, shooting race cars at such venues as Daytona, Sebring, and Dunnellon (FL), and just photographing interesting cars.  

I took a break from the car side of things when I was in college at The Citadel. A military college did not offer me the flexibility to pursue chasing cars (or girls for that matter), but upon graduation, I upgraded to a Mamiya C33 in that it was a large format and offered interchangeable lenses suitable for shooting races. At the time, I could not afford to race (still can’t, but I do) so photographing them was an option I had to stay close to the sport. I sold some images of the 1967 SCCA National Championships to Sports Car Graphic magazine and my odyssey as a photojournalist began. In 1971, I became a “Contributing Photographer” for Road & Track, a title I still have today.

What does this have to do with running a Concours d’elegance? It boils down to the relationships I built as a representative for SCG and R&T opened doors that otherwise, I could not have entered otherwise, and friendships with great drivers like Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Brian Redman, Sam Posey, and David Hobbs all contributed to the success we have experienced on Amelia.

On the Christmas day that I opened the present and found that Yashica, I recall my sister, Harriet asking me, “Do you know what this camera will do for you”? I said, “No, what?”. She said prophetically, “It will get you on the other side of the fence”. Today, I know exactly what she meant.   For over 50 years, I’ve been able to experience so many automotive events “on the other side of the fence” and what a ride it has been.  

I lost my sister to cancer when she was but 50 (I was 37) but her guidance and encouragement has influenced me more than words can say. I am working on a photo book of fifty years of motorsports which I hope I’ll have completed this time next year. The title? That’s easy, “The Other Side of the Fence, 50 years of Motorsport Photography”. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Bill Warner

Posted by Bill Warner Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM
Rate this Content 4 Votes


Friday, June 12, 2020 11:05:42 AM
Jerry Kelley
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On the other side of the fence once at Sebring as your pit crew member, on crutches, having been hit by a phone service vehicle along pit row. Cannot wait for the Warner humor and writing style. David E. Will be proud.

Sunday, January 1, 2017 7:36:23 PM
Jay Shiver
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Bill,  I followed your career with SCG & R&T every month and hope to see The Other Side of the Fence one day soon.  Hope to be at Amelia in March. 

Friday, September 9, 2016 10:18:56 AM
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Can't wait to buy a copy. 

Friday, September 2, 2016 6:31:11 PM
don knowles
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I am ready for it now--can I pre purchase one?  Great story, Bill, your passion has created many things but Amelia is one of the best!  All the best.

Thursday, September 1, 2016 12:57:52 PM
Steve Rossini
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Looking forward to an incredible book recounting 50 years, from the other side of the fence.

-July 2016+


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