Peet Mocke has a standout resume in the classic motorsports photography industry. At just 36 years of age, the South African has worked for Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Land Rover / Jaguar and Hyundai, as well as Max Power and CAR Magazine.
All images by Peet Mocke (IG @peetmocke_)
We came across Peet’s work while one of the SpeedHolics team was plotting a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum, just an hour outside of Cape Town.
In a country of seemingly endless highways, dirt roads and awe-inspiring mountain passes, the 4x4 and the “Bakkie” rule the roost. (“Bakkie”, by the way, is a South-African-ism for a pick up truck or utility vehicle). So coming across a vast collection of pristine classic cars is a pleasant surprise.
Peet has been on multiple shoots with the Museum’s stunning collection. Owned by renowned South African business tycoon and billionaire Johann Rupert, it showcases over 100 years of regal motoring history. Needless to say, they only hire the best photographers to shoot their collection.
A quick scroll through Peet’s Instagram feed shows you the level of his talent & vision, as well as the calibre of the cars he spends his time capturing. But take note, a “quick scroll” swiftly turns into a deep dive.
We caught up with the man himself recently in Cape Town to learn some more about him and his work.
SpeedHolics: Tell us about your upbringing and how you got into professional photography?
Peet Mocke: I was born in a small town called Worcester, about 120 kilometers northeast of Cape Town, South Africa. We moved around a bit as a kid, but never to big towns. My childhood saw me living in Caledon and then Bredasdorp, both small industrial and agricultural towns in the rural Western Cape.
But after finishing school I moved to the city, to Cape Town, to study photography at college, and I’ve been here since then. It’s been 18 years now.
SH: And how did you get into motorsports photography specifically?
PM: After my studies I did a two week internship at Media24 (South Africa’s leading media company). Then six months later, they offered me a job as an assistant. It seemed a great starting place so I took them up on the offer. At that time, Media 24 had most of the popular car magazines under one publishing company, and so that was my big break. I learned the ropes under (acclaimed photographer) Jacques Stander. Soon after came my very first shoot for Max Power. The car? A black Fiat Uno.
Since then, I’ve been very privileged to shoot for CAR magazine, as well as the likes of Lamborghini, Porsche & Land Rover / Jaguar.
SH: Can you sum up your favorite thing about shooting cars?
PM: It’s always a challenge, not knowing what the end result is going to be. Even now, I’m always nervous before a shoot. But my favorite thing is the end result. The car is just such a beautiful creation that all I want is to do it justice -- to make it look as beautiful as possible under the circumstances.
SH: You’ve traveled a lot for shoots around Southern Africa. Any favorite locations?
PM: Franschhoek (The Western Cape Winelands town where the Motor Museum is located) is definitely one of my personal favorites. The landscape is just beautiful. There’s the stunning mountain backdrop, and the mountain pass itself makes a fantastic location for shooting cars in motion.
But one of the things I love about shooting on location is the unknown. That’s why I really enjoy working in places I’ve never been before. It’s like a
SH: Tell us about a shoot that you’ll never forget.
PM: Where to start? There are just so many. In 2018 I had my very shoot with Lamborghini. We had these three amazing machines, and a brief to capture them with Table Mountain (in Cape Town), in the background. That was a real learning experience.
Also when I worked for adventure motoring magazine Leisure Wheels, we went on some incredible road (and off-road) trips to unforgettable places like Namibia and Lesotho.
Finally, my first shoot at Franschhoek Motor Museum. That was for TopCar Magazine, and we were working with a Ferrari F40. Not a lot of people ever get that kind of opportunity.
SH: Lastly, let’s talk about cars—past, present & dream cars.
PM: I have always been a bakkie guy! I love shooting classic cars, but for day to day it’s hard to beat a bakkie. My first ever car was a little Toyota Jazz, and ever since then I’ve only driven bakkies. My dream car is the pretty humble Toyota Hilux, and luckily I have one. It’s my pride and joy!
But, if money was no object… I’d be looking for an Audi RS6 Avant, or a new Land Rover Defender 90.