Formula Drift Seattle – The People Pictures
Though I enjoy shooting the action quite a bit, my first love in photography will always be the people pictures. Like my Mom, I am a people watcher and I’m
never not intrigued by the people around me. I don’t care if you’re particularly beautiful, or famous – doesn’t even matter…everyone has something about them that makes them beautiful, or unique, or interesting. Every person walking the planet has a story, and their face, actions and mannerisms can tell you quite a bit if you’re inclined to look for it and don’t mind when you get caught staring. Happens to me all the time, so I’m kinda used to it. Can it be creepy…well, yeah – but I try not to be. I prefer to think of it as being a student of humanity. People are incredible, and I’m content to listen to the story that each one of them will tell me through their actions and expressions.
Here are some of my favorite people pictures from Formula Drift Seattle, 2016.
Matt Fields crew getting ready for morning practice.
Matt Field getting ready for Practice – I like shooting Matt quite a bit. besides being a very cool person, he always has a mixed air of confidence and humility surrounding him. Tough to see through the helmet, maybe, but you’ll see it in other shots.
Matt Field focused and set for his run.
Ryan Tuerck has a conversation with Brandon Scarpelli before practice begins.
Forrest Wang checking out the local produce. Blackberries on the menu today.
Mad Mike Whiddett is always fun to shoot. I loved this shot of him just peering out of his helmet before his practice run.
Matt Field during driver introductions.
One of the many incredible motorsport photographers covering Formula Drift – This is Larry Chen. Larry has been featured in our “shoot the shooter” series, and is always a favorite target of mine whenever we find ourselves at the same event. Which is actually more often than not.
Matt Coffman appears to be asking his car “why you do that?” A bump from another driver got Matts suspension out of whack just a bit, but they would fix it an return to the action.
Jhonnattan Castro takes a stroll through the paddock after the Thursday morning drivers meeting. The 32 year old Dominican is a four time champion in his homeland and looks to do the same on the world stage.
Tanner Foust – what else is there to say about the two time FD champion? He’s won in multiple disciplines, has driven as a stunt driver in countless movies as part of the Drivers Inc. team, and has even had his own TV show. And he’s a pretty darn nice fellow on top of it all.
This is Faruk Kugay on the left. Faruk is a hard working rookie who makes his home in the Bay Area of Northern California. He currently helps run the grassroots drift program “Sonoma Drift” at Race Sonoma (formerly Infineon, formerly Sears Point), which is where I first met him. He has an infectious smile (or “wicked grin” if you’re so inclined), as you can see, and when you talk to him, you can tell that he’s having as much fun as you can have. Awesome energy around this guy.
Ken Gushi – I could probably do an entire book on Ken Gushi. An uber talented driver, and is one of the most purposeful looking people I’ve ever met. Some of my all time favorite shots at any FD event are of Ken Gushi just standing around being Ken Gushi.
Justin Pawlak (JTP). Justin always has an easy going look about him. Whenever I see him in the car he’s always looking relaxed and content as if he truly knows that this is exactly where he’s supposed to be.
I have a hundred photos of Tyler McQuarrie, and in nearly every single one of them he’s making a goofy face. This is one of the rare exceptions when I just got a good smile. That’s Kyle Mohan in the background.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. is one of the good guys. He is billed as a “professional fun haver” and it shows. Whether he’s riding around the pits on his cruiser or just chilling with friends, this guy couldn’t be more relaxed. Though I suspect there’s a lot more going on behind that big grin, outwardly he’s all fun and relaxation.
Whenever I get a shot of Fredric Aasbo it’s usually in his “I’m very serious and I’m about to go do this thing” look. Even though he was walking away form me, I couldn’t help but snap this shot of him just munching down a snack before practice.
See what I mean about Tyler? This is what 99% of the shots I have of him look like. A great and terrible thing…
Alex Wong…holy cow. When whatever it is that controls the universe was handing out photography and artistic skill, he went a little overboard with Alex. Most of his work makes you sit back for a moment and just say “holy shit”, or “that’s incredible”. Amazing comes to mind, as well. Genius even. He’s that good.
This is Erica Nagashima. If you just fell in love, that’s ok. Lot’s of people do. She’s beautiful and smart…and oh, yeah…she’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet at an FD weekend.
Michael Essa – The former world champion and all around family man. Mike is pretty fun to talk to. Every conversation with him has a solid measure of substance. That’s always fun.
Charles Ng is always ready with a smile. The multi-continent racing driver can be seen driving everything from Formula Drift to World Touring Cars. And no – I didn’t miss a vowel in his last name – that’s really how you spell it (pronounced “Ing”).
As I mentioned – I could do an entire book on Ken Gushi.
Dai Yoshihara signs an autograph for a young fan. All of the FD drivers are pretty generous with their time, but Dai always manages to go the extra mile.
Mad Mike is just cool to look at, isn’t he? And he wears the stuff in his face pretty well, too, don’t you think? I couldn’t pull that look off even if I tried.
Here’s Matt Coffman looking a little less bewildered. The young man is typically cool and collected.
Odi Bakchis. Odi is a bit of an enigma. He drives like a bat out of hell, but looks like your friends dad. That’s not a dig. He just seems to have that unassuming father figure look about him. When I first saw him without his helmet on, it made me pause for a moment. One of the nicest guys in the paddock.
Tanner Foust is always accommodating. The first time I interviewed Tanner, we talked for about three hours. It was a great chance to get to know the guy behind the TV personality. Talk about driven – Tanner knew exactly what he wanted out of a career behind the wheel and went out and made it happen. And don’t kid yourself into thinking he had it easy – the guy worked hard for every ounce of success and it is rightly deserved.
As focused as Justin Pawlak is behind the wheel, he is equally as laid back when outside the car. This guy loves to laugh and have fun. And when it comes to his sport, he’s always ready to lend advice to the younger drivers. I asked him about that once and here’s what he said: “You have to spend some time teaching. When you do, you’re not giving away secrets, you’re making the sport better. The better they get, the more we have to work to stay in front. That makes the sport better, and makes the show better for the fans”.
Justin Pawlak – He’s a fun one to photograph.
Tabrese getting a quick selfie with Tanner Foust.
And finally – One last shot of Ken Gushi making the day of one lucky young fan. The autograph sessions always have a line a mile deep. Folks are excited to meet their favorite drivers, and the drivers seem to enjoy it quite a bit, as well.
If you haven’t made your way out to a Formula Drift event, you should make a point to do so. They’re a great and entertaining way to spend a weekend at the track and you just might see some pretty cool and interesting people.