The Paris Motor Show

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of cars, but I like them enough.  So when I heard the Paris Motor Show was on this week, I thought I’d take a day off work, stump up 16 Euros for a ticket, and go along and take a look.  I also thought it would be a good opportunity to practice taking photos indoors, which I’ve not done much of.

As things turned out I was a bit disappointed.  Firstly, there was a huge emphasis on electric cars which I think are complete waste of time as I explained here.  Although some of the BMW electric cars undoubtedly look nice.  Secondly, the cars that were not exotic you could see in a showroom and the cars that were you couldn’t get near.  The high-end Porsches, BMWs, Audis, and Ferraris were cordoned off and you needed to persuade a bloke in a suit to let you close to them.  In other words, I found going to the motor show to be a bit like paying to go to a car showroom and then asking permission to look at the cars.  When I grumbled about this to a colleague over WhatsApp he said “Sounds like a typical motor show, mate!”  So it’s probably going to be my first and last.  I think you have to be really into cars to go, and whereas I’d maybe like to sit in a few Porsches I’m not prepared to fight my way through a crowd to do so.

Regarding the photography, I kind of lost interest due to the number of people and the subject matter which I discovered I wasn’t really into: if I want a photo of a Porsche 911 I can find professional quality ones on the Porsche website.  So I don’t think these photos are much good and I’ll not put them on Flickr, but I’ll post some of them here.  For anyone that’s interested, there is more than enough lighting on most of the cars that you don’t need a flash, let alone an external one.  Push the ISO up into the low hundreds and you’ll be fine.  And bring a wide-angle lens, I shot with a 17-40mm on a full-frame camera.  The pre-set white balance options are rubbish on my camera for indoor work, and so I set it manually.


img_5764 img_5784img_5772 img_5780img_5768 As might be expected, the French manufacturers seemed be attracting a lot of interest, much more so than the German giants.


This being France, somebody had set up a full-on seafood restaurant.

I tried to look at the Teslas, but they were hidden behind a forest of people.  I tried for several minutes and I still couldn’t tell you now what one of them looked like.

Finally, who the hell would buy a brown Ferrari?!


8 thoughts on “The Paris Motor Show

  1. I just can’t get into modern cars. Now put up an exhibition of veteran and vintage – ah, that’s a different matter.

  2. It’s just occurred to me that I’d have preferred it if it had been a tractor and farm machinery show. I’d probably still be there now.

  3. Car shows are not my scene either, the indoor shots exposure level is good.

    On the subject of motors and recent post on manufacturing in decline. Ford car manufacturing in Australia will close today after 91 years. Yes this may be unpleasant for the relatively low paid workers that get their P45 today but in reality only 10% of them will never find new employment. Subsidised wages are a false economy and the majority of Australians and Australia will be financially better of for this closure. Toyota and Holden will also close next year and that will be the end of the car manufacturing industry down under which is yet another striking example of the decline in manufacturing as a % of GDP and the associated improvement in wealth and prosperity that this signifies.

  4. The wise thing to do for many workers would be to specialise in making something that must be eaten newly made, so that it can’t be imported from any distance away. I suggest Portuguese custard tarts.

  5. Shooting cars:
    Always use the on camera flash as fill-in. It won’t light the car but will add a zing to some of the chrome and wheels.
    Bend your legs. Shoot from a low angle. Windscreens and leather chairs/seats aren’t sexy; curves, wheels and pipes are.
    You’re welcome.

  6. Toyota and Holden will also close next year and that will be the end of the car manufacturing industry down under which is yet another striking example of the decline in manufacturing as a % of GDP and the associated improvement in wealth and prosperity that this signifies.

    See this is a sign that Australia really has screwed up in a way that Britain didn’t. When people talk about the decline of car manufacturing in Britain, what they mean is the demise of the British-run former state-owned enterprises which made crap cars badly. What people don’t realise is that Britain is a pretty good place for assembling cars, provided they are foreign designed and the corporate governance is foreign. Free of the unions and politics, car assemble in the UK goes rather well. So although it’s not surprising that Holden is closing down, it is surprising that Toyota is also pulling out. If Toyota can’t make it work in Australia, nobody can.

  7. @ Fatmatt,

    Good advice there, and it did cross my mind. The problem I have is I am 6’4″ and my knees hurt when I bend. I think I’ll stick to photographing skyscrapers!

  8. “If Toyota can’t make it work in Australia, nobody can.”

    Especially since Toyota has the largest market share of vehicles in Australia and no one comes near them in the 4WD range. As Adam Smith said you can grow grapes and make wine in Scotland for thirty times the cost of producing it in France. The fact that they are pulling out is a good thing, since they and all of the other manufacturers are heavily subsidised by the state which is always a mugs game, so we will all now be much the wealthier for their departure and still continue to enjoy their products.

    I remember being in an absolutely huge steel mill in Tokyo with some yanks and we were looking at the many smelters surrounded by countless stockpiles of Australian iron ore, coking coal and lime it really was an impressive sight. We were up there for an order for large diameter UOE API line pipe for an Australian project and the yanks asked me if I thought it was strange that all the raw materials came from Oz and that the final product would then be sent back to Oz, I said no I didn’t see the problem.

    By the way I have three cars at home, two are German and one is Japanese.

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