• Welcome to the website of the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club.

    Should you have any questions relating to the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club, or Vincent H.R.D. motorcycles in general, please contact Graham Smith, Hon. Editor and Webmaster by calling 07977 001 025 or please CLICK HERE.

    You are unrecognised, and therefore, only have VERY restricted access to the many features of this website.

    If you have previously registered to use this forum, you should log in now. CLICK HERE.

    If you have never registered to use this website before, please CLICK HERE.

Alternate 'bathing suit' photo

TouringComet

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
Check out this picture of Rollie from a Life photographer. Judging by the position of the mountains, I think it was taken a moment before the more famous picture.

Rollie from Life Magazine

One of the other 'Related Images' shown on the webpage above is captioned "Roland Free chatting with photographers". On landracing.com, someone says the other gentleman is not a photographer, but Ab Jenkins, a famous racer at Bonneville.

Other Life Magazine photos from Bonneville
 

Len Matthews

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Interesting. I've never noticed it before but Rollie's Lightning has a full set of prop stands and a mag cowl. If he had removed these items would he have had to resort to minimal attire?
 

TouringComet

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
Bruce, the picture you reference was just recently passed around a few of us in the So Cal section, including Marty Dickerson, and we are debating whether it is Rollie, or perhaps Joe Simpson. That photo is from 1953, so it could have been either. So far, no consensus. One interesting item, though, is that in this photo, the bike has the front brakes installed. I just listened to the audio recordings of the Jerry Hatfield interview with Rollie, and Rollie says he had the front brakes mounted when using the shell. After the shell didn't work out, someone suggested running without the shell to 'up' his existing record, and Rollie says he made the run with the brakes. Maybe this is that run. Or, did Joe run with or without front brakes?
 
Last edited:

Prosper Keating

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
There were several photographers covering Rollie Free's September 1948 run. One of the better-known was Peter Stackpole of LIFE magazine.

http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/2/4/7/8/3/2/webimg/269134003_o.jpg

This is one of Stackpole's shots from 13.9.2009. This is indeed sometimes described as taken just before the famous image with Free's head down. However, if the mountains and the black line are compared, it suggests a different run.



This is the more famous image, which was trademarked by Herb Harris of Harris Vincent Gallery Over in Texas in April 2008. The print quality tends to vary with the period autographed prints that Free used to give or send to fans and friends. In some cases, one suspects that they were either second or third generation prints or made from dupes. No matter: they did the job.

One could say that it is possible although improbable that Stackpole took this shot, given the quality of his photography in general. There again, it would not be the first time that soft shot was deemed more exciting than a shot of superior technical merit. Editors might have felt that the soft shot with Free's head down looked more authentic. If the shadows in both shots are examined, it is immediately apparent that very little time elapsed between them.



Here, from LIFE's archives, also attributed to Stackpole, is another shot from the September 1948 attempt. Free is coming back the other way, with two photographers in the foreground, lining up panning shots. Again, the shadows suggest that very little time has elapsed between this shot and the other two shots.

The famous shot, as trademarked by Herb Harris, was reportedly published in the Los Angeles-based Motorcyclist magazine shortly after the run or runs. Again, this supports the contention that Stackpole did not take it. Perhaps it was taken by one of the two fellows in the above photograph, perhaps by the one using a tripod and what might be a Rolleicord, which would have rendered panning a bit difficult and might explain the fuzziness of the image.

So, like the other famous LIFE magazine biker image of the drunken oaf on a bobber in Hollister, where the photographer bought a trucker a few beers and got him to sit on the motorbike for a shot his editor would publish, perhaps these famous shots do not actually depict the run itself.

Speaking as a former motorcycle journalist and magazine editor, getting good shots of interesting events often requires a bit of inventiveness. It is actually very hard indeed to capture 'the moment' on camera, even if one has a battery of photographers on the job. Much better to get the subject to roll backwards and forwards and play with the shutter speeds to create the impression of speed.

Perhaps the iconic shot of Free, head down, blasting along the oily line shows the master at 50mph rather than 150mph, giving the photographers what they needed for the magazines and sponsors.

PK
 

Prosper Keating

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
There were several photographers covering Rollie Free's September 1948 run. One of the better-known was Peter Stackpole of LIFE magazine.



This is one of Stackpole's shots from 13.9.2009. This is indeed sometimes described as taken just before the famous image with Free's head down. However, if the mountains and the black line are compared, it suggests a different run.



This is the more famous image, which was trademarked by Herb Harris of Harris Vincent Gallery Over in Texas in April 2008. The print quality tends to vary with the period autographed prints that Free used to give or send to fans and friends. In some cases, one suspects that they were either second or third generation prints or made from dupes. No matter: they did the job.

One could say that it is possible although improbable that Stackpole took this shot, given the quality of his photography in general. There again, it would not be the first time that soft shot was deemed more exciting than a shot of superior technical merit. Editors might have felt that the soft shot with Free's head down looked more authentic. If the shadows in both shots are examined, it is immediately apparent that very little time elapsed between them.



Here, from LIFE's archives, also attributed to Stackpole, is another shot from the September 1948 attempt. Free is coming back the other way, with two photographers in the foreground, lining up panning shots. Again, the shadows suggest that very little time has elapsed between this shot and the other two shots.

The famous shot, as trademarked by Herb Harris, was reportedly published in the Los Angeles-based Motorcyclist magazine shortly after the run or runs. Again, this supports the contention that Stackpole did not take it. Perhaps it was taken by one of the two fellows in the above photograph, perhaps by the one using a tripod and what might be a Rolleicord, which would have rendered panning a bit difficult and might explain the fuzziness of the image.

So, like the other famous LIFE magazine biker image of the drunken oaf on a bobber in Hollister, where the photographer bought a trucker a few beers and got him to sit on the motorbike for a shot his editor would publish, perhaps these famous shots do not actually depict the run itself.

Speaking as a former motorcycle journalist and magazine editor, getting good shots of interesting events often requires a bit of inventiveness. It is actually very hard indeed to capture 'the moment' on camera, even if one has a battery of photographers on the job. Much better to get the subject to roll backwards and forwards and play with the shutter speeds to create the impression of speed.

Perhaps the iconic shot of Free, head down, blasting along the oily line shows the master at 50mph rather than 150mph, giving the photographers what they needed for the magazines and sponsors.

PK
 

Prosper Keating

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Sorry about this, guys! Photo link glitch but I couldn't edit it. Can we turn the Edit function back on?

There were several photographers covering Rollie Free's September 1948 run. One of the better-known was Peter Stackpole of LIFE magazine.



This is one of Stackpole's shots from 13.9.2009. This is indeed sometimes described as taken just before the famous image with Free's head down. However, if the mountains and the black line are compared, it suggests a different run.



This is the more famous image, which was trademarked by Herb Harris of Harris Vincent Gallery Over in Texas in April 2008. The print quality tends to vary with the period autographed prints that Free used to give or send to fans and friends. In some cases, one suspects that they were either second or third generation prints or made from dupes. No matter: they did the job.

One could say that it is possible although improbable that Stackpole took this shot, given the quality of his photography in general. There again, it would not be the first time that soft shot was deemed more exciting than a shot of superior technical merit. Editors might have felt that the soft shot with Free's head down looked more authentic. If the shadows in both shots are examined, it is immediately apparent that very little time elapsed between them.



Here, from LIFE's archives, also attributed to Stackpole, is another shot from the September 1948 attempt. Free is coming back the other way, with two photographers in the foreground, lining up panning shots. Again, the shadows suggest that very little time has elapsed between this shot and the other two shots.

The famous shot, as trademarked by Herb Harris, was reportedly published in the Los Angeles-based Motorcyclist magazine shortly after the run or runs. Again, this supports the contention that Stackpole did not take it. Perhaps it was taken by one of the two fellows in the above photograph, perhaps by the one using a tripod and what might be a Rolleicord, which would have rendered panning a bit difficult and might explain the fuzziness of the image.

So, like the other famous LIFE magazine biker image of the drunken oaf on a bobber in Hollister, where the photographer bought a trucker a few beers and got him to sit on the motorbike for a shot his editor would publish, perhaps these famous shots do not actually depict the run itself.

Speaking as a former motorcycle journalist and magazine editor, getting good shots of interesting events often requires a bit of inventiveness. It is actually very hard indeed to capture 'the moment' on camera, even if one has a battery of photographers on the job. Much better to get the subject to roll backwards and forwards and play with the shutter speeds to create the impression of speed.

Perhaps the iconic shot of Free, head down, blasting along the oily line shows the master at 50mph rather than 150mph, giving the photographers what they needed for the magazines and sponsors.

PK
 

Top