ayrton senna

The legendary Ayrton Senna

on Monty Shadows pictures

The 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of the legendary Ayrton Senna . On February 22nd 2024 it was held at the Scala cinema of St Moritz the  Press Vernissage of this small exhibition during the I.C.E. concours of elegance.

On the occasion of the I.C.E. event held in St Moritz in February, the Monty Shadow foundation created a small exhibition of some shots of Ayrton Senna. A longtime friend and several times at Ayrton Senna’s side during his years of affirmation, Monty Shadow in his shots, captured an unseen Ayrton Senna,as one might in a family album. Senna was at the same time a man of great humanity, taciturn perhaps, with the dreams and anxieties of any normal individual. Monty Shadow’s shots testify to a deep friendship and show the greatness of Ayrton, a gentle “myth” with a “sweetest” look that struck a chord in the hearts of those who loved him.

Senna remained a ‘mythological’ figure, whom so many would have liked to know, in an attempt perhaps to establish a more direct relationship, to reduce the distances that inevitably separate the lives of great champions from their supporters. In the effervescent and dynamic context of Formula One, just a short distance from the spotlight of the limelight, between one event and another, in addition to the more strictly sporting events, there are stories of friendship and shared experiences, moments of life. The bond between Ayrton Senna and Monty Shadow, one of the most appreciated photographers of those years, an assiduous frequenter of the Formula One entourage, he made us participants through extraordinary images. The vernissage was held in the presence of various personalities who came to celebrate Monty Shadow  in a small photographic exhibition curated by Audrey Tritto and Fabrizio D’Aloisio.  Fabrizio D’aloisio, who had the honor of having in the preface of his book “Car Guys” a text signed by Monty himself who esteemed him as a photographer  make a small speach to introduce the idea behind this event created with the Monty Shadow Foundation.

The guests was be able to watch the documentary Film Senna (2010) at the Scala cinema
From the time frames of 2h.13m.58second until the 2h.14m.08second Monty was on the movie

” He was a dear friend of mine. Few people are aware of this facts. He himself flew ancient airplanes. That was another great passion of his apart from photography. He always said that when he stopped being a pilot, he would travel the world like a photographer. With such enthusiasm he wanted to become my assistant.”

Monty’s Shadow quote

The vernissage was held in the presence of various personalities who came to celebrate Monty Shadow  in a small photographic exhibition curated by Audrey Tritto and Fabrizio D’Aloisio.  Fabrizio had the honor of having preface of his book “Car Guys” a by by Monty Shadow who esteemed him as a photographe. Here a small speach to introduce the idea behind this event created with the Monty Shadow Foundation.

Fabrizio D’Aloisio speech

Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear iconic tourism director Hans Peter Danuser, dear legend Martin Berthod, dear St. Moritz Tourism CEO Marijana Jakic, dear Audrey and Rocco, dear… or how Monty would have said: dear Bambini!

It is an honor for me to say a few words this evening. I first met Monty many years ago. It must have been in 2005 or 2006. At a meeting at Badrutt’s Palace in the presence of Hans Peter Danuser and I think also Martin Berthod. Monty came up with the idea of organizing an art festival in St. Moritz, the St. Moritz Art Masters, which later enjoyed great success for many years. Monty was wearing a long shirt, almost as long as a nightgown, and I still remember his initials MS embroidered at the bottom. His assistant looked stunning and although she had the pen in her hand for two hours, she didn’t write anything down. It was my first meeting where the words shit and piss were part of the conversation several times.

I never thought at the time that I would develop a special relationship with Monty years later. Although we didn’t spend a lot of time together, for me, like for so many others, he was the uncle we all always wanted to have. The uncle who motivated you and made you feel important. The uncle who always took you with him to enrich you. He was the uncle who called spontaneously Silvester Stallone for you and took you to lunch with Fabio Capello without telling you beforehand.

I could go on for hours with stories like this, but let’s get to the subject of today’s mini-exhibition: Monty and Ayrton Senna.

Rocco, who along with Audrey has been the person who has experienced Monty the most over the last 10 years, helped me put together some anecdotes.

Monty was very close to his friend Ayrton Senna. We often talked about Monty’s relationship with Senna, but each time we could see a hint of sadness in his face, which also shone through in the funny stories he often told.

Monty was at the Imola circuit on the day of the tragedy, and in the Senna documentary, which the Scala cinema will be showing three times over the next few days, you see him in the final helicopter shot zooming in on Senna’s car on the track before the start. Monty walks past the rear wing of the Williams and goes up to Senna to say something to him. It was the last time he saw his friend alive. (From the time frames of 2h.13m.58second until the 2h.14m.08second )

Ayrton and Monty were also friends away from the racetrack. When Senna was in Italy, he always stayed with Monty in Milan. And Monty visited Ayrton several times in Brazil at his residence in Angra dos Reis, where Senna used to relax after the championship. The cover picture of this exhibition with Ayrton Senna on the water scooter was taken on one of these occasions.

Senna flew by all sorts of means, with airplanes of all ages. When he went to his residence, he flew in his helicopter, and the photo you see here was taken on one of the flights Senna made with Monty to get to his island.

When Senna was in Italy, he was Monty‘s guest and visited the vibrant Milan of the 1980s with him, where Monty worked as a fashion photographer and where he also was a well-known personality. Once Monty took Ayrton to a Versace fashion show, and before the show was over, he took him backstage and threw him down the catwalk at the end of the show. Senna was very embarrassed, but you can imagine how amused Monty was.

Monty used the camera with Senna like a smartphone, and in this way showed the naturalness of a human being rather than the greatness of a star. Monty loved to accompany Ayrton to discover the beautiful things of the Italy he loved and which he believed represented the spirit of a people who somehow knew how to live. Monty loved Italian style and was happy to experience the world of style that he thought was worth living in. They often went to Lake Como to Monty’s friend Tullio Abbate, the designer of offshore racing cars. It was on these boat trips that one of the photos in this sneak peek exhibition was taken, where Senna is holding one of Monty’s cameras.

Senna spent so much time with Monty because Monty was also a great PR man, and that’s how Senna met Carol Alt, and their story was born. At that time, Monty and Senna often traveled between Milan  for excursions, and on these occasions they often drove Ferrari. Once they were stopped by police for a routine check; they must have had a heavy foot, which did not go unnoticed.

The policemen stopped them and checked Monty first, then went on to check the driver of the second Ferrari. When the window was rolled down, they couldn’t believe their eyes: they saw Senna and were stunned. Senna was an incredible star at the time, and of course the inspection turned into a festival of compliments. Ayrton and Monty were dismissed,  Monty invited them to stop by and show where was the studios where he took photos.

The next morning, several police cars and a dozen policemen were outside. He asked what had happened, and after a few moments of concern, he learned that the commander of the police station had heard from his colleagues that Senna had been stopped and that he was staying with Monty. The commander demanded to meet Senna, of whom he was a big fan.

Ayrton let Monty photograph him in private, because this was not a relationship between a photographer and a star, but a relationship between two friends who were trying to have fun and enjoy their time together. In this respect Monty has taught us a lot, we are all equal and human, even if we are all different, and at the end of the day we all just want to be loved.

We miss you uncle……..!!

Fabrizio D’Aloisio