Childhood fascination with sports cars sparks passion for life
It was on a camping trip with his parents near Parry Sound that Lucas Scarfone saw something that would change his life: a Dodge Viper.
“The original Vipers were just radical,” he said. “They have this look that captivated me at 13.”
When the family returned to their home in Hamilton, he researched everything he could about the sports car. He even emailed the president of an area Viper club, who responded by inviting Scarfone to attend one of his upcoming events and take pictures. Scarfone convinced his parents – who really aren’t car enthusiasts – to drive him there.
The teenager soon started attending more events and track days, photographing the vehicles. He became obsessed with luxury sports cars and would cycle to nearby IDA to pick up copies of the duPont Registry – a magazine featuring automobiles, yachts and homes – and smear his bedroom with cut-out photos of Vipers , Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Today, he is the one taking the pictures. As a car photographer for car manufacturers, Scarfone travels the world photographing some of the most glamorous and exotic vehicles out there. Throughout his journey from obsessed teenager to professional shooter, Scarfone said he only received support and encouragement from high-end car collectors, many of whom are now considered friends.
Scarfone is also co-publisher of Autostrada, a magazine that features some of these same cars and collectors. Yet Autostrada, releasing its 30th issue this spring, isn’t just about big players with luxury cars.
Created by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts, the magazine highlights all kinds of enthusiasts, whether they are mechanics, artists, racers or comedian Jay Leno, whose collection was presented in the issue. of December 2019. And, of course, many of the publication’s stories are brought to life through Scarfone’s lavish photography.
Earlier this year, Scarfone bought his own luxury sports car, the first he had ever owned: a Porsche GT3. We talked to him about his love of automobiles.
You’re driving your brand new sports car for the first time, where are you going?
I drove it to my grandparents’ house. They both signed the trim under the trunk. I even took my grandmother for a short drive around the block. It was a very special day.
Let’s go back to your beginnings. Do you remember your first paid gig?
When I was 15, I went to photograph a Lamborghini for a client. My parents drove me to his house and I took a bunch of pictures. He asked me if I could give him some fingerprints. I had never made prints before. He said, “You will learn.
I found a printer in Hamilton and developed three large prints. I gave the bill to my client telling him they cost me $25 each. I will never forget this: he pulled out a wad of cash and gave me $300, which was crazy money for me at the time. “Here’s a little taste,” he said. “Keep following your passion. You will earn some money one day.
You took his advice – you’ve since met and photographed some of the world’s top car collectors. How do you keep your cool with these high profile aficionados?
These guys are awesome, honestly. There is a big misconception about people owning expensive cars. Ninety-nine percent of the people I work with are the cutest people in the world.
I was so lucky that these people I grew up with, many of them became friends and they were so supportive in every way. And, by the way, these are people whose time is worth more than anything; they are worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. But it’s funny because when I show up at their office, I’m wearing a T-shirt and shorts. I don’t think of them as the CEO of this or that big company, for me he is “Jimmy with the Ferrari”. I treat them like human beings.
I feel very lucky to know them on a level where they are just car people. Their passion for cars is matched by their passion for sharing them with people.
You and co-publisher Sean Patrick launched Autostrada in 2015. What did you want to achieve with the magazine?
From the start, we didn’t want a high-end magazine; we wanted a car magazine. We are talking about passion, which is more interesting than price tags. We do not do car reviews. There are plenty of other posts that focus on high-end sticker shock. We didn’t want that at all.
We are committed to showcasing the people of our local automotive community. When people think of high-end automobiles, they think of Italy or Europe, but the community in Canada is so deep. Until I started doing what I do for a living, I had no idea how many cars, collectors and owners there are even in Ontario.
We want readers to identify with the magazine and not be overwhelmed by it. I prefer to tell the story of a guy who built a Camaro in his garage with his dad or a guy who walked into a dealership and bought something just because he could afford it.
I’ve been incredibly lucky when it comes to opportunities. I used to photograph European tours for BMW Canada, I photographed fall rallies for Ferrari of America, track days for Lamborghini. If you go back to when I was 13, when I went to my first Viper club meet, I could never have anticipated anything.