If you’re an avid reader of The Automobile magazine, you may have seen my photographs of the 1922 Morris Cowley – more commonly known as the ‘Bullnose’ on account of its bullet-shaped radiator grille – that appeared in the March 2019 edition.
However, the images that accompanied Zack Stiling’s excellent article are just a fraction of what was taken, so I thought I’d share a few more. From the cutting room floor, as it were (and yes, I did liberate that phrase from Speedhunters, but it’s simply too good not to).
Nice(ish) day for it
Despite the shoot taking place in January, slap bang in the middle of the British winter, the weather gods smiled on us. Don’t get me wrong, it was still bloody cold, but at least it didn’t chuck it down with rain. That wouldn’t have been fun at all.
The holy trinity
Of course, this being a Morris we just had to shoot it somewhere close to the brand’s spiritual heart, Oxfordshire. A sprawling private residence near Thame was donated for the day by a friend of the car’s owner – and boy, what a pad it was: a great big country house with stables, acres of grassland and a large collection of outdoor art (more of that later).
As well as providing lots of lovely set dressing, this gave us the holy trinity of a stress-free shoot: time, space and privacy.
The grounds also had a small winding road running through, which proved useful in getting some movement shots. And for the other task of the day: teaching Zack to drive a vintage motorcar. I guess you could’ve called it a crash course, but that may have been tempting fate.
To be fair to Zack, he picked it up pretty quickly, although he was understandably reluctant to really let rip, given the precious nature of the car and its extremely expensive surroundings.
One of my fondest memories of the day was the owner bellowing instructions from behind the camera as the car trundled around the paddock far too slowly for his liking.
“Put your foot down, man!”
“Faster! Faster! Go! Go! Go!”
We made poor old Zack do half a dozen shuttle runs of increasing velocity before I was happy that we’d got enough shots in the bag. We flagged him down and a visibly exhilarated but relieved Zack handed the car back to its owner.
I think it would be fair to say that he climbed into that Bullnose a boy, and left it a man.
The concrete snail and his friends
Earlier in the post, I mentioned the numerous pieces of outdoor art that littered the grounds of the house. They were quite a surreal addition, but very interesting nonetheless, and I just had to incorporate some of them into the shoot. Although I had absolutely no idea how you’d work them into a narrative, they just looked cool.
By this point, it was mid-afternoon and we were all starting to feel the bite of the cold. Satisfied that we’d got everything we needed, we called time on the shoot and retired to the local pub to warm up and reflect on a job well done.
If you’d like to see the full gallery of Bullnose images, head over to my website.