(Motorsport-Total.com) – Ercole Colombo, one of the most prominent Formula 1 photographers of the past 50 years, has been named “Cavaliere al Merito della Repubblica Italiana”. It is one of the highest honors in the Italian system, it is synonymous with the appointment as a knight.
© Sutton Images
Colombo comes from Monza. His passion for motorsport was sparked in 1951 by his father, who took him at the age of seven to watch Fangio and Ascari racing at the legendary Autodromo near their home, the traditional venue for the Italian Grand Prix.
Colombo’s studio is located just a few hundred meters from the race track entrance. He served Enzo Ferrari as a photographer for many years, capturing countless behind-the-scenes and racing action pictures. Even after Enzo Ferrari’s death in 1988, he continues to supply the Scuderia with images of Formula 1 races.
Colombo: As a photographer, you have to be curious
In 2018, his image archive, the world’s largest collection of privately owned Ferrari images, was acquired by Motorsport Network and is now part of the Motorsport Images collection, along with the works of Rainer Schlegelmilch, LAT, Sutton Images and Giorgio Piola.
“I feel great humility in the face of this unexpected honor,” says Colombo. “I am a normal person who has worked for sixty years and has always done the work with passion and commitment. My work celebrates the wonderful world of cars and racing. I am proud that my pictures will survive time and stories that I captured with my lens. “
Colombo explains: “You have to be curious to be a photographer. You have to try to capture the moments that you consider important. A photo, if it is well taken, if it is perfect, does not need to be explained. It tells You what happened. “
Favorite picture: Enzo Ferrari kisses Gilles Villeneuve
His favorite picture among the millions he photographed is the much acclaimed picture of Enzo Ferrari from 1980, in which he hugs his driver Gilles Villeneuve, whom he considered almost like a son. “We were in Casinalbo, nearby from Modena, during the press conference to present the team the following year, “recalls Colombo.
“The day before, Gilles Villeneuve had a terrible accident during the Italian Grand Prix. He was late because he went to the hospital for an X-ray. When he got closer to Ferrari and shook his hand to greet him, they shook hands. There were two other photographers, but I wasn’t shooting at that point, you know if the moment doesn’t feel relevant. “
“Then Enzo pulled him over and kissed him. I took photos and the others were not ready. Enzo Ferrari liked this picture so much that he asked for a copy. I brought it to him personally and he signed a copy for me.”
Colombo was informed in writing of his honor. However, the ceremony will be postponed until it is considered safe and the coronavirus pandemic is over.