In Issue 2, we spoke to Australian Photographer, Jack Martin, about his experiences and life revolving around motorsport and photography. Take a look at what he had to say, alongside some of his stunning imagery.
MW: Photography aside, where and why did your passion for motorsport arise?
Jack: “My passion for cars and motorsport grew from a very young age. My parents saw that I was interested in anything that had wheels on it. I would watch VHS tapes every day of anything motorsport related, from monster trucks to recorded World Rally highlights, and I even watched “The Audi Quattro Experience” so much that I wore the tape out. My Father and Uncles would attend Club and State Rally Championship rounds across the country, and I would eagerly tag along, so you might say that their passion and enthusiasm for motorsport became mine too.”
MW: What is your favourite racing series?
Jack: “Rally is by far my favourite racing series. It is the sound of a revving engine echoing through the forest, the grit and dust in your face, and the beauty and spectacle of watching drivers race to their ultimate limit that captures my attention. It really tests a photographer’s skills as you have to be on your ‘A game’ every time to capture the car first go. Unlike circuit racing, you don’t have the opportunity to wait a couple of minutes for the cars to arrive back to where you are standing. You hear the rally cars barrelling hard through the forest, they turn the corner and blast past you at an intense speed and that is it, your window has passed to shoot that car on that part of the stage.
There are so many iconic brands that have rallied across the world from Audi to Subaru, Toyota and even Ford, the list is impressive and diverse. For photographers it is a unique motorsport in that you can never have the same shot twice, every photo tells a different story. You can capture the cars sideways, kicking up rocks and dust, jumping over crests and flying between the trees. Once you capture a rally, you will just want to do it more.
In saying that, GT Endurance racing also has a special place in my heart. I love watching and capturing the series as there are so many manufacturers with different body shapes, different engine configurations and they run ‘flat-out’ until they cross the finish line. I have been fortunate enough to cover the Bathurst 12 Hour, and it’s always a joy to watch IMSA, WEC and even Le Mans because there is so much action.”
MW: What is the most notable or funny story you have from when you were covering an event?
Jack: “One of the most notable funny moments I can look back on was last year at the Adelaide Hills Rally in South Australia. That weekend was the most special event I have covered to date. It was my second time at that rally and I got to witness my great friend Harry Bates clinch his first Australian Rally Championship title. When I shoot rallies, I like to do a very detailed recce and planning. I was freelancing that event, so my main aim was to shoot the top 4 or 5 cars which allows me to visit more locations throughout the day. I spent hours planning on Friday night and one particular thing stood out that could potentially throw a spanner in the works. The podium presentation was scheduled to start at 6:00pm, but both me and my Dad had to be at the airport by 7:10pm at the latest, and with a 40km journey past the city to get there, it was going to be a tight timeframe.
Not too long before the podium got underway, I was asked by Harry if there was time to get a team photo in front of the truck, and even though we were already pushed for time, I said yes. So, with the podium quickly dealt with, I made a mad dash across the service park back to the truck and quickly stacked some rally wheels to create a platform to stand on. Harry was already in the car driving across the service park, and I guided him to position his car in front of the truck. With all the team members there I quickly captured as many images as I could. The happiness across everyone's faces really showed what it meant to secure the Championship, and a special photo to commemorate it was the icing on the cake.
With that out of the way, I thanked the team at Neal Bates Motorsport, hopped into our hire car and dashed to the airport. In the end, we made it to the airport by beating the expected time of arrival by 15 minutes according to Google Maps, and we checked our bags in with 1 minute to spare. Waiting for our plane, both me and my Dad thought it was fitting to share a beer and toast a successful weekend before boarding our flight.”
MW: What is your favourite image that you have taken?
Jack: “It’s hard to choose a single image that is my favourite, but if I had to put it down to just one image, it would be the shot where Harry Bates is sliding his way towards me in Ballarat Victoria. On a very cloudy day, the sun made a fleeting appearance just at the right time which created incredible shadows through the trees and illuminated the dust kicked up by the sideways car. It was the first corner of the morning run and the attitude he put into attacking the corner is what makes it my favourite image.”
MW: What was it that made you want to start photographing motorsport?
Jack: “I attended my first Bathurst 1000 race when I was 5 years old, and I would watch my uncle take great photos of the action. Just two years later he could see my interest in capturing the cars, so he gave me his camera and said, “have a go mate.” They were typical photos that a 7-year-old first timer might take, but I loved it and I was hooked.
Years later, I almost fell into photography by mistake when during my final year in high school in 2015, I decided to incorporate it into my Visual Arts Major Work project. I was a self-taught amateur producing images that I was proud of at the time, and both my family and friends would comment on how good the photos were, which encouraged me to pursue photography more seriously. In 2016 I completed a ‘Diploma of Photo Imaging’ course where I learnt the skills and knowledge to springboard me into a career as an emerging motorsport photographer.”
MW: Who is your photography inspiration?
Jack: “There have been many photographers that have inspired me to pick up a camera. One of the many photographers that helped me find my feet was Warren Kirby (who I mentioned earlier). He taught me a lot about the things you need to do when photographing a rally event. He has photographed for Toyota Australia in the early 2000’s, and when Subaru made their return to the Australian Rally Championship in 2016, he was their official photographer.
Other photographers that have shaped the way I shoot include;
Jamey Price, Larry Chen, Drew Gibson, Marcel Langer, Florent Gooden, Logan LeGrand, Kevin Pecks, Aaron Wishart and Dave Oliver just to name a few.
Also, Florent Gooden’s work is just insane! Every image is incredible, he has a great eye for composition and his use of light to its full effect is amazing. He is definitely a photographer to aspire to be like.”
MW: What has been your favourite event to attend or work at so far?
Jack: “Rally Australia has been my favourite event to attend to date, just nudging out the Bathurst 12 Hour. It is a big week whenever the WRC rolls into Australia. I would drive 7 hours north to Coffs Harbour in NSW and recce all the stages myself. It’s a very special event to have the opportunity to get as close to the WRC cars and stars as possible.”
MW: Is motorsport something that you’ve been able to enjoy with family and friends or is it a solo passion?
Jack: “My dad and my Uncle’s were a big reason why I got into loving motorsport, they used to rally themselves with their Datsun 1600’s in Australian State Championships and Club rounds during the 80’s, and my uncle even won an NSW Rally Sprint Championship. I have made many friends through motorsport over the years, some are photographers and others and enthusiasts, but all share a love of cars.”
MW: Other than motorsport and photography, do you have any other interests and passions?
Jack: “I love Mountain Bike riding and I often get out on the trails which are close to where I live. I also find a lot of enjoyment playing racing games such as Forza Motorsport and Dirt Rally 2.0. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed from a young age which has helped grow my passion for cars and Motorsport.”
MW: What is your current camera set up?
Jack: “I have always been a Canon person and I have two 5D bodies along with a few lenses. My favourite lens I own would be the 70-200 f/2.8. It is a workhorse and has produced some of the best images I’ve shot. I love the sharpness and depth of field it can create, and it is perfect to use in rally.”
MW: What’s your favourite thing to do with the camera?
Jack: “One of the more satisfying and enjoyable challenges is to shoot at a super slow shutter speed through objects. I do it quite often when I go to Bathurst; setting my camera up to shoot at 1/15th – 1/25th and panning the cars from behind the crowd, tents and fencing. If you can perfectly pan, you start to see some interesting colours and shapes around the car, and it has produced some of my favourite images to date.”
MW: Is there an event on your list you haven’t been able to get to yet?
Jack: “There are Plenty of events I’d love to cover in the future. WRC would be the dream job, to travel to places like Portugal, Sweden and Finland would be amazing and is definitely on my bucket list. Other stand out events I have on the list include the Nürburgring 24 Hour, 24 Hour of Le Mans, Pikes Peak and hopefully Formula 1 in the future.”
MW: What advice can you give to aspiring photographers wanting to go professional?
Jack: “The advice that a lot of photographers say (and that is very true) is to always keep shooting and finding new inspiration. All the better-known photographers start from the simplest events. Get to know the drivers, organisers and important people in events and network with people to boost your name and your brand. My biggest point I would like to say is to shoot creatively and not get caught up in how other photographer’s shoot. The way to stand out in photography is to always find unique angles and to make your images your own. Take inspiration from your favourite photographers but add your own style to the way that YOU shoot. You do you.”
MW: Is there anyone who’s given you the boost or helping hand you needed to progress with motorsport photography?
Jack: “My dad, Dean, is the biggest supporter of my work and has helped to push me to be where I am today. He has attended almost every rally with me, and he drives me around so I can focus on the shooting. There have been many other photographers that have helped me over the years. Warren Kirby, was an incredible help that taught me so much about how rally operators work.”
MW: Final question... Consider it a motorsport version of ‘if you hosted a dinner party, who would you invite?’.
Imagine you’re hosting a track day...
What track would you be hosting at?
Jack: “Mount Panorama Bathurst holds a special place in my heart, and I’ve been going there since I was 5 years old so it’s only fitting to have this as my track of choice.”
MW: What 3 cars are involved?
Jack: “The three cars I would have to choose would be the 1986 Audi Sport Quattro, the 2019 WEC Porsche 911 RSR and the 2021 Toyota Yaris GR.”
MW: You can be driven around by any racing driver, past or present. Who would you choose?
Jack: “I’d love to be driven around by Daniel Ricciardo. Of course, he is an Aussie, but he would attack Mount Panorama with so much commitment and still be able to make it a very enjoyable moment.”
MW: The two other cars racing against you and Ricciardo on track; who’s driving them?
Jack: “Colin McRae and Ayrton Senna. Two of the most exciting drivers of all time, both highly respected and supremely talented. Pure excitement!”
MW: What photographer would you hire to cover the event for you in the way you would want?
Jack: “I would probably get Jamey Price to cover this track day. I know he wants to shoot at Mount Panorama one day and I’ve always loved his style of photography. It is a very unique style and I think he would be able to capture the excitement of the day and tell a great story.”
To view more of Jack's work, visit his Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/jackmartinphotography_au/?hl=en
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