Bidding adieu to a Legend
Renowned motorsport photographer, George Francis passes away at 57 after a brief illness
THE 80S WERE AN era where motorsport could be portrayed in its purest form, with no gimmicks. An opportunity that George Francis took, quickly having disavowed the idea of being a priest, preferring instead to exhibit motorsport through his lens.
George Francis, 57 years young, founded Scorp News in 1984. He made sure that he was present at each and every motorsport event possible. His photographs were always in demand and he contributed to almost all major auto publications besides the Indian print media. India’s top motorsport photographer started his endeavours at the famous Sholavaram track, back in 1984, after quitting his job at the Indian Express, Chennai. The final outcome, the developed shots, were mailed to magazines. Interestingly, Francis also used to cover rallies in an age where the media was not accomodated. He would try to make it to the location of the rally no matter what. The extent to which he would go for his shots is laudable.
If you happened to be at the MMRT in February this year, that would’ve been the last you of saw him behind the lens, capturing Formula F2000 cars in all their glory. Earlier, motorsport organisers didn’t entertain the media. Francis would even travel on the roof of a bus, to get to the venue and then walk miles, rain or shine, to pick the perfect spot for action shots. Many of his photographs, spanning over three decades, adorn the living rooms and scrapbooks of India’s top rally and racing drivers.
“Motorsport in India has evolved considerably since my early days, but there is a lot that still needs to be done for the sport to become more popular. So, I am just doing my bit by taking and distributing photographs,” said Francis.
Francis was quite the daredevil when it came down to risking it all for the best shot. He has had a couple of close shaves too, one of them being while clicking Jagat Nanjappa in action. His work, which reflected his passion and commitment, inspired a generation of photographers who looked up to and admired George Francis, a man who spotted, nurtured, encouraged and inducted raw talent into his company. He will be missed. ⌧