Celebrated motorsport photographer Nigel Snowdon has passed away at the age of 79

One of Formula 1’s most celebrated photographers, Nigel Snowdon, has passed away at the age of 79.

The English-born Snowdon moved to Australia as a teenager and began working as an engineer with the country’s national airline, QANTAS. But the fascination of motorsport bit him hard – particularly in the wake of our own Jack Brabham’s overseas successes – and he returned to the UK in 1963 to become a professional F1 photographer.

He started out in a freelance capacity, later becoming heavily associated with another legend in the field of photojournalism, David Phipps.

Snowdon’s photographic skills weren’t just confined to Formula 1, however, and some of his most famous work came as a result of a visit to the Le Mans 24 Hours, where he was asked by Steve McQueen’s movie production team to appear as an extra in the famous Le Mans film.

Snowdon snapped many pictures during this stint, including the famous shot of the Hollywood actor giving a two-fingered salute (pictured).

He later partnered with his wife, Diana Burnett, to form Snowdon & Associates, selling his work to newspaper, magazines and books worldwide, as well as landing the role of the Autocourse annual’s chief photographer, a position he held for fifteen years. He published several of his own books and was widely respected in the field.

He and Diana eventually opted to retire to Australia at the end of their Grand Prix odyssey in the late 1980s. He and Diana were regularly spotted at the Queensland-based rounds of the V8 Supercars Championship until his health began to decline after he suffered a number of strokes.

The RichardsF1.com team passes on its condolences to Diana, the Snowdon family and friends.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.