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Bernard Cahier was born in Marseille, France, on June 20th 1927.
He was an adventurer from his young days, fighting as a volunteer in WW2 when he was only seventeen, traveling to Cameroon and then to California in 1948 where destiny caught up with him: his first job was working together with Phil Hill selling foreign sports cars in Hollywood, and he married a California girl named Joan.
He caught the racing virus, and decided to become a photojournalist. His first assignment was the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, 1952. Equipped with his Leica 3F and then 3G's, he soon became a full time international journalist and photographer, as well as the friend and confidant of drivers who would become legends.
He's been called the "Cartier-Bresson of Motor Racing" due to his uncanny ability to snap the right moment. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. From the 50s through the 70s, he was everywhere, covering both F1 and Sportscar races, in the days when most drivers competed in both, collaborating with innumerable magazines around the planet. He also raced in a number of race events, notably Sebring, the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio (he won the overall GT category with Olympic Ski Champion Jean Claude Killy on a factory Porsche 911 in 1967). He founded the IRPA (International Racing Press Association) in 1968 and remained its president until he retired in 1985.
Paul-Henri Cahier is the son of Bernard Cahier, and was born in Paris on November 7th 1952. He grew up with the sound of race engines and the smell of Castrol “R” racing oil... In those days, the 50s, friends who came to the family house were called Fangio, Moss, Brabham, Gurney or Hill, and after every race weekend, black-and-white photographic prints covered the floor of the living room.
When he was thirteen, Bernard gave Paul-Henri one of his cameras (a Pentax) and let him discover on his own the world of F1 photography. No particular advice was given, basically just "do it!". By the time he was fifteen, Paul-Henri's photos were already being published, but it was not until the early 80s, and a first life of adventurer during which he met his Japanese wife Tami, that he decided to become a true professional photographer.
Ever since, his never ending hunt for the most graphic, stunning, creative, image has always been the mark of his distinctive style. He has contributed to innumerable magazines and books around the world, and has had several solo books published as well. His black and white photographs were made using a Pentax, but the modern era ones were made using Canon cameras on Kodachrome film, before the final switch to digital and the Canon EOS 1Ds.