Brad Spurgeon / Joshua Paul / David Gray, 2018, Lollipop Grand Prix Media, New York
Review | Is it a magazine or an art book? Lollipop (named after the paddle-shaped sign that a crew member holds in front of the driver during pit stops) calls itself the “the greatest Formula 1 magazine you’ve never heard of” and that’s probably true if you don’t know the work of F1-accredited motorsports photographer Joshua Paul. A passion project, turned business venture, Paul has produced five issue/editions of his publication since 2013.
While previous editions have chronicled the F1 racing season with race reports and descriptive photo captions, issue 5 takes a broader look at the planet’s most elite form of auto racing. Lollipop #5 features one single article by Brad Spurgeon titled Perfection which sets the narrative for the entire issue. The constant pursuit of perfection is what it takes to compete in F1. “The perfect lap is not the car that goes the fastest down a single stretch of track,” Spurgeon writes. “It is achieved by the car and driver that make the perfect compromise around the track’s several kilometers of winding trajectory in the lowest time to cover the full length of track.”
Yet, perfection itself can be boring. And that’s where Paul’s images work to tell their magical tale of imperfect perfection. Employing a hulking 1913 Graflex and 4x5 Kodak Tri-X film (mostly), Paul paints his interpretive vision of F1 with blur and shallow focus. His choice of camera is a poetic contrast to the high-speed digital cameras that are the professional standard for sports photography. Yes, you will find digital color images in Lollipop 5 but the majority are created with the Graflex.
Lollipop #5’s design is balanced minimalism that will remind you that this is not a cookie-cutter motorsports journal. A true “page turner,” the layout creates fast-paced reading. In a bold gesture, designer David Gray has set single sentences of the article across multiple pages, creating a blur of words and photography. With no more than eight words per page on average, it’s a sprawling use of space that might remind you that print—and film photography—are not dead. —S.H.