“The sensation of freedom. Knowing I can go anywhere, anytime. I also love getting to know the car I’m driving. Every car is different, it accelerates, turns and reacts in its own way.”
Aniss Hamdane has an affinity for cars that shines brightly through his art. The Montrealer captures the finer details of his favourite four-wheeled machines on film. From gorgeous BMW E30s to fiery red Ferraris and supercharged Nissan Skylines, Aniss takes pictures of vehicles that make me want to rush out and buy them.
When Aniss first picked up a camera, he had no idea what to point it at. After having a crack at portraiture he soon leaned into shooting cars. To begin with, he spent his time capturing “very old American cars” like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. It didn’t take him long to realise he was only drawn to these models because everyone else was.
“Eventually I started to shoot cars that I liked instead of those that were popular.”
This love of automobiles has been in his bloodstream since he was a little kid, forever drifting toy cars along the floors of his childhood home. “My favourite one was a 67’ Mustang”. An interest in film photography didn’t strike until much later in life. It took the world locking down for this hobby to rear its head.
Melding these two passions, Aniss showcases vehicles in all their vibrant glory. Chasing light and shadow, the photographer draws attention to the intricate lines that form headlights, tail lights, bonnets, spoilers and more. Under his watchful eye, these beasts take on a treasured glow.
In one frame, the polished hood of an E30 twinkles like a diamond. In another, a forest-green Lamborghini glistens in the wet, Aniss’s Canon pinpointing rain droplets on its hood.
“I try to show the details that I like about the cars I shoot”
Aniss reminds us of how beautifully engineered cars truly are. A myriad of different parts working harmoniously to deliver us safely from A to B. Whether intentional or not, he celebrates the minutiae – from hundreds of LEDs in a single brake light to the jigsawed panels that make up a car’s outer shell. It’s pure eye candy.
One thing Aniss is still trying to navigate years into his hobby is access to a steady stream of gorgeous vehicles.
“That’s the hard part! The first is just searching online for car meets in my area or in cities close to mine, and hoping there are cars I like. The second is just taking my car and driving through different neighbourhoods hoping I find something I like.”
Modestly, Aniss dishes out praise for his camera and film stock and the role they play in bringing these striking images to life. The colours alone are enough to stop you in your tracks. Naturally, Aniss’s favourite tool is his current set-up, the Canon AT-1. If you’re up for a rewarding challenge, this could be the camera for you he says.
“It’s an inexpensive, all-manual film camera. You have to figure out the shutter speed and aperture yourself. It’s ruthless at first, but after a while, it becomes second nature.”
Loaded in the barrel is more often than not a CineStill 800t canister. A film Aniss believes is in a league of its own.
“I can show you hundreds of pictures, and you’d be able to guess the one shot on Cinestill. There’s a red glow around the highlights, called halation…something you cannot find on any other film stock.”
Although the vast majority of Aniss’s frames are of whips at a standstill, I was curious to know about memorable moments in his life travelling at high speeds.
“It was a summer night, and I was doing a photoshoot with my friend. He had a BMW E30 and E36. He drove the E30, I drove the E36. It was a manual and a convertible. I was on the highway, top-down with my hair in the wind, hearing the inline 6 roaring. One of the best moments of my life.”
Just a year later, he had purchased a BMW E36 of his very own.
What this anecdote tells beautifully is Aniss’s great enthusiasm for high-powered cars. It oozes out of him. Ladies and gentlemen, channel love into your photography – that’s where the real magic happens.