John Doutch is one of Australia's best known rally photographers, having been around the scene for more years than he probably cares to admit. The one-time Renault R8 rally driver still has a deep passion for the sport, as he explains in our "5 Minutes with".Name: John Doutch
Role: Photographer, half of the B Team Rally Media crew!
How did you get into rallying?
A mate was working for Channel 2 at the time of the 1968 London to Sydney Rally, and they were filming a night control at Edi, near Wangaratta. I went with him, and was hooked!
Shortly after, a family member wrote off a new Renault 10, so I built up a rally R8 out of the wreck. Not enough talent, not enough money, so the photography won out!
What is your favourite rally moment you’ve experience?
At a Mt Buller Sprint some years ago, an open-top sweep course car with two girls on board went over the edge, beside my remote photo point.
I could hear the car crashing down the mountainside, and was sure I was going to go looking for bodies.
Nicest moment was to find them struggling out of the wreck, a little bloody, but very much alive.
John Doutch is an ever-present figure on Victorian rallies. Photo: James Nixon
What is your favourite rally?
This is a little out of left field ... I've shot a lot of ARC rounds around Australia, long distance rallies and several years of WRC at Coffs.
But my favourites are still night rallies, and so my vote goes to the VCRS round, Nissan Nightmoves, who have stayed true to their name for many years!
Who is your favourite driver?
Jack Monkhouse! Spectacular, fast, talented, and all round good guy!
If you were not a rally photographer, what would you be doing?
I spend a lot of time photographing other things! Model shoots, street photography, even macro insects! I'm also a live music fan.
What is your go to snack food?
Small: Cheese Shapes, shared with my dog! Larger: Grilled fish and chips!
Describe your perfect setting for rally photography.
There isn't really a perfect setting for rally photography. I think the challenge is to make what you can of what there is!
But late or early light, a jump, water splash, or thick dust all help to convey the action.
Why do you use a Canon rather than a Nikon?
Just as well my mates won't see this! (Ha ha) Honestly, not much to choose between them, but once you line up with one team, it becomes very hard and expensive to change sides!
Better just to wait until your team leaps ahead of the others!
Sometimes the story behind a photo is greater than the actual photo. Are there any photos that fall into this category?
The greatest 'back story' would have to be the final round of the ARC, 2016, where a championship was won and lost, but I'm trying to move on from that, so ....
The photo I have chosen was the final round of the Victorian Rally Championship in 2004, the North Eastern Rally.
Justin Dowel and Matt Lee were all set to take the championship, but a slippery last stage saw their chances vanish, and the Montgomery crew took the win and the year. Justin's face says it all as the crew recover the bent car.
Justin Dowel surveys the damage after losing the Victorian Rally Championship. Photo: John Doutch
What event is on your bucket list to photograph and why?
Not really specific, but a snow rally, whether in Japan or Europe, is on the bucket list. But I reckon the bucket will get there first!
It's just a new dimension to what we are used to seeing in Australian rallying.
What is your greatest rally photo you’ve taken? (and why?)
Impossible to choose! If I have to, I guess "Jack's Jump" at Rally South Australia, 2013 would have to be up there!
Jack whistled past above head height, and none of the photographers there will ever forget it!
Doutch's photo of Jack Monkhouse over "Jack's Jump" is one of his favourites. Photo: John Doutch
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