Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

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Thread: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    Motor Trend
    August 20, 2019



    Jim Dunne was one of a kind. Not just because he founded the art of spy photography as we know it, but because he was a constant presence in the auto industry, a true character, and a gentleman filled with charm.

    Car companies knew he made winter treks to northern Ontario cold spots to catch them winter testing, and he headed to the desert in summer to catch future models during their hot weather testing. He even had a slice of land adjacent to Chrysler's former proving grounds in Arizona that drove the automaker crazy because it couldn't kick him off his own land.

    Jim had a lifetime of stories about how he snapped what was not supposed to be seen. He dressed in a sports coat and tie to blend in. He could talk his way into anywhere -unless security had his poster and had been warned to watch out for him.

    He liked to tell the story of sneaking into the GM tech center during lunchtime years ago to snap some prototypes and startled an exec who had snuck in for some extracurricular secretary time. The two men nodded in agreement: I didn't see you and you didn't see me.

    The engineers who covered their cars with camo and tried to evade Dunne still held a begrudging respect for him—and of course they liked seeing the competition caught in the photographer's lens.










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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    I grew up looking at Mr. Dunne's photos, and probably loved every single one of them - much as I do today at the sight of a good spy photo. Click the link and read the entire story - Mr. Dunne had quite the reputation...











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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    He was a very 'colorful' character.
    Rode with him on many Press events. He had some great stories and anecdotes.
    He told many tales of how he would hide out and obtain the 'spy' shots he managed to get.
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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    Rest In Peace, Jim...I looked forward to your spy shots!
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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    Bummer. He was good at what he did.

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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    I'm really sorry to hear that.. Who didn't eagerly await in anticipation for car magazines with Jim Dunne's photos of what next years model looks like? It was really a different era.. Cars are so 'ho hum' these days.. It's hard to describe the sort of excitement that accompanied each new model year releases in todays zeitgeist, but it really was a thing back in the day.

    Nobody got the goods more consistently, year after year than Jim Dunne.

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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    Damnit. I always looked forward to see Dunne's spy photos and concept renders from I was a boy. When I started working I bought Popular Mechanics just to get an idea what new cars would be coming. May he rest in peace.
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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    We are spoiled today with the amount of Spy photography we get, but I clearly remember waiting every month for a handful of Jim Dunne Spy Shots in the car rags. Car magazines stopped buying spy shots well before the internet age of spy photography, I remember only Popular Mechanics seem to have any toward the end. But for me it was ALWAYS the reason I looked forward to them. Farewell Jim!


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    Re: Jim Dunne, Master Spy Photographer, 1932-2019

    RIP Jim Dunne! My first experience with his spy pics was in a Motor Trend I saw in my school library so many years ago. I was hooked from the start! I used to love to read the stories about how he would hide in the bushes near GM's proving grounds with a telephoto lens to get the latest models. While there are many folks out there doing it, he was the original!

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