Judging from the registration number, I am guessing it is a commercial poster for/in the UK.

I would like to know, any additional information:

  • who photographed it, location, when?
  • how it might have been made: type of film, lens used, etc

If relevant, the car is VAZ-2101 Zhiguli (ВАЗ-2101 «Жигули»).

enter image description here

Here is a version with the full advertisement, although the scan appears to be of lower quality:

enter image description here

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Unless an image is historically significant (in the sense of the development of the art of photography), identifying the photographer and circumstances surrounding its capture are generally considered off topic here. Questions about how it might have been made (what type of film, lens used etc.) would be on topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark Thank you, I thought "any additional info" would cover "how it might have been made (what type of film, lens used)", I will edit it to make it explicit. \$\endgroup\$
    – zx8754
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm Came across in private chat group, then searched the web, there are many websites with this image, but none mention the origins, usually just "look here is commercial from 70s" type of posts. \$\endgroup\$
    – zx8754
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ btw, the registration plate makes the car between August 77 & July 78. The letter is the year for old UK plates S=77 Ref: theaa.com/car-buying/number-plates \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @zx8754 - all British cars since 1963 have the year in the plate; though the system has changed a couple of times, when they run out of letters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 10:12

2 Answers 2


More than a comment, less than an answer, because I have no clue what camera/lens/film...

The car's registration plate sets it firmly between August 77 & July 78 - the letter is the year for old UK plates S=77 Ref: http://www.theaa.com/car-buying/number-plates
There's prestige in having a 'new' plate, so there's a high probability this was even shot before August using a not quite legal plate, for an advertising campaign set for August that year.

It's just wild speculation, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they didn't just take the car to Woburn Safari Park-[Google Maps satellite view] & park up next to the giraffes.
It was the 70's. People were less concerned with animal welfare than they are now - although the animals at Woburn are used to seeing cars, as it'a a drive-through tourist experience.

Pic from their web site

enter image description here

The tree types & road style match.
There's nothing in the wheel hub reflections to hint they're not where they look like they are. In the 70's I wouldn't have liked to try airbrush the giraffe into the refection on the top of the car.
The only hint of 'fake' I think is the nearest giraffe, head & neck coming in from top right. It just looks a bit too convenient & looks like a hint of rim-light. It might also be covering a bit of ugly background where the road bends round the hill.

I found a larger version of the image on http://vsi.reactor.cc/tag/ваз

enter image description here

Which gives a slightly clearer reflection in the front hub cap, of, I think, one of the giraffes.
It is possible that reflection is actually of the 'fake' top right giraffe... which might make it 'not fake'. The child also appears to be looking up at it, so it might in fact be real & the rim-light possibly a sign they had some additional lighting.
The soft shadows really don't give much more of a hint than it's a fairly standard English cloudy summer's day. The sky might be washed out, but we do actually get almost totally white skies some days; very thin cloud, but total coverage.

As an example, this is a quick snap from my workroom window - taken today, just before noon, mid-summer. Typical British summer sky...

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nah, Google disagrees with your "Typical British summer" image :) \$\endgroup\$
    – zx8754
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 12:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ well, yeah... it probably should have more rain. That's forecast for tomorrow ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 12:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ From months of watching April, I think it would be reasonably easy to coax an already tame giraffe into that convenient position with some food. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ The expression on that little girl's face suggests that there may actually be a real live giraffe looming over her... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin - I can positively confirm two facts a) Giraffes do indeed like Ritz Crackers and b) The sight of a bloody enormous giraffe sticking its head into a car to steal Ritz Crackers will leave a 7-year old child with a severe psychological dislike of safari parks well into their teen years. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 8:22

Based on the time and usage of the image it is almost certain it was captured using a large format camera, a lens set to a fairly narrow aperture, and with high quality, fairly low speed film. The point of focus seems to have been centered somewhere on the car.

In the late 1970s almost all commercial photography for major ad campaigns was done with large format cameras.

  • The image in question demonstrates absolutely nothing to suggest this was not the case.
  • The high resolution and the fairly large depth of field without any obvious effects of diffraction both point to the use of large format.
  • The wide dynamic range between the shadows under the car and the white clothing of the man that both show detail indicates a slower film with fairly wide dynamic range was used.
  • The sky is blown out a bit, but assuming this was shot in England based on the car's tag and what appears to be the Woburn Safari Park known for its giraffes, it's highly probable the sky might have been overcast. There are limits to the dynamic range of even large format, low speed color film.
  • The details in the image are sharpest in the middle part of the car. When looked at carefully, the people having a picnic in the foreground are not quite as sharp as the car itself. Compare the details of the headrest on the front left seat, or even of the left front tire, to the lettering on the box of Ritz crackers and other items on the blanket. This indicates the lens' focus was set somewhere on the car.

There's one other aspect of the photo I find interesting. Although it is not them, the adult "couple" in the ad look a lot like British fashion trendsetter Pattie Boyd and her boyfriend musician Eric Clapton would have appeared in 1977 with regard to her hairstyle and facial features, his clothing, etc. This was during the period after Boyd had divorced ex-Beatle George Harrison and had become romantically involved with Harrison's friend and fellow musician Eric Clapton. She was considered by many in Great Britain to be the "queen" of British fashion and pop culture and he was considered a "guitar god" by music fans. One or both of the two were often on the front page of tabloids in the UK and abroad during this time period. Even if there was not an intentional decision to use models and styling that resembled Boyd and Clapton, it seems at the very least their influence on how many Brits chose to look and dress at the time affected the depiction of a domesticated but still "hip" young couple by the ad creators.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like your Clapton comparison - though bizarrely there's more than a hint of Nigel Tufnel to him too - Google Images search link - though Tufnel wasn't even 'invented' until 1979;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 10:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ All of the others were trying to be Eric Clapton. (Just like Clapton started out trying to be Harrison...) \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 1:50

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