Born in London in 1974, Matt Stuart’s personal photography revolves primarily around street photography, capturing those unguarded and unposed moments that reveal what it means or how it feels to be human. Matt recently attended Qatar Goodwood on behalf of Leica. Below are his impressions from this wonderful festival.
I felt excited when I got the phone call from Leica to go to such a quirky and ever so British occasion. I hadn’t been to the races for over 20 years. The last time I attended a race was with my granddad Oscar. He was a habitual ‘bettor’, but never more than 50 pence a go. Nostalgia and wishing my granddad could be here past through my mind more than once over the few days I was at Goodwood.
I decided to watch the people, not the horses, as that is where my interest lies.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the racecourse was the amount of picnickers. They were everywhere, some understated and sitting on a rug between their cars, others with tables, chairs, china plates and crystal glasses. Some even had butlers.
On the first day, I noticed a golden Rolls-Royce drive through to the racecourse, kicking up dust as it arrived. I remember thinking to myself that there was no better car to turn up in for such an occasion; it fitted the bill perfectly.
British summer wasn’t quite at its best on the first day and many picnickers were surprised by the rain. Not this lot though, they seem to be well prepared, almost professionals. One of the men had an immaculate Goodwood coloured umbrella and matching tie, and of course, a lady remembered to pack plastic to protect her hat from the rain. They both must have attended the event before…
I was surprised by how well organised some of the picnickers were. Cucumbers, limes, lemons ready cut and wrapped, a drinks bar bigger than the one I have at home, and enough bowls to hold an endless amount of cheesecake and raspberries.
Goodwood is very much a family occasion. I was impressed; everyone made the effort. The hats that this father and son are wearing are real Panama hats and cost well over £100 each. I daren’t think how much the girls’ hats cost.
Qatar Goodwood is not only about the horses. There was a fantastic band, The Royal Anglican, playing everything from Pomp and Circumstance to slinky jazz.
John McCririck was there. I remember him vividly throughout my childhood commentating on the TV. He is still smokes cigars.
This little girl was mesmerised by the horses. She smiled at every horse that walked by.
The outfits people wore were very beautiful. This man stood out; he reminded me of a movie character, a 1940’s detective movie.
This outfit also stood out. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite fit one who has just lost a race. I thought it was a bold look nonetheless.
This boy picked out a horse that wasn’t a favourite and wasn’t expected to win. You can see from the look of the adult experts around him that they hadn’t anticipated this win. I love his gleeful expression.
In the morning, the bar staff would do exercises or routines to keep up the camaraderie and get ready for another big day of work. This is the Veuve Clicqout crew practicing their version of Frank Sinatra’s “New York.”
Picnickers having lunch.