Wallpaper Wednesday: Corey Silvia, BHRS/DirtFish/DRR
For the next few editions of Wallpaper Wednesday, we’ll be shining the spotlight on some of the photographers who work for top Red Bull GRC race teams. Today we feature Corey Silvia, who shoots for a number of teams in the Supercar and GRC Lites paddock. Check out our interview with him below:
I’m going to start by putting you on the spot… if you had to pick one of your photos to tell the story of your season, which one would it be and why?
Great question, but one I can answer pretty quickly, because it’s also my favorite from the 2017 season. It was the season opener in Memphis, and it was all new for me. First full season as a GRC photographer, just having met people who have now become close friends.
And the dramatic happened, Cabot was racing hard against Chris Atkinson and I had my eyes focused on the jump. Cabot launched alongside Atko, and they touched, Cabot’s car dipped to the left, and basically looked like he would flip, and I snapped two shots, this example being the moment before touchdown. This was my introduction as Cabot’s photographer, a unique moment for his first GRC Supercar race, and it also happened to be one of his favorite photographs of the season as well. I associate my season with this photo, as it was a show of what was to come: the unexpected.
DOWNLOAD: ACTION WALLPAPERS
You came into GRC with plenty of professional sports experience—what were some of the events you shot in past years, and what made you decide to give rallycross a try? How do those other experiences influence how you shoot GRC events?
I’ve had the fortunate career to have photographed some epic events. One that comes straight into mind was the 2014 US Open tennis tournament—having the ability to photograph great players like Serena Williams and Roger Federer as an introduction into sports photography was a great way to start a career.
But the reason I wanted to give rallycross a shot is very simple. I’m a fan first and foremost. I had been following the careers of Tanner Foust, Scott Speed and Ken Block early on, and really enjoyed excitement the series brings to motorsports. Secondly, I believe the future of motorsport is in GRC, and I can’t think of a better way of spending my weekends.
Having photographed all types of sporting events, each and every type of sport has helped me understand the camera better, relating in more creative ways to express how I see each moment as it happens, motion blur, or capturing mud fly at my camera, all of the techniques I’ve used have helped me take better photos each and every time I get out there.
You’ve worked with both Supercar and Lites teams and drivers this year. The cars are obviously built differently and race differently as well, so do you have to approach shooting each class differently, too?
I do approach each class differently, in a way. The power difference on the cars is immense, and in some locations a Supercar may catch a bit of air, whereas a Lites car will hug the ground. Throughout the weekend, I tend to gather data about the spots on the track that will better suit each class and hope to apply that on the track.
When you arrive at a racetrack for the first time, what’s your approach to scouting photo locations? Do you tend to have a gameplan before cars even hit the track, or do the first few heats have a lot of influence on where you set up?
I’m scouting from the second I arrive on track. I’m constantly looking at the sun’s position and background conditions prior to the racing weekend. I’ve even gone as far as looking at Google Earth to see what sort of backgrounds are in the area we’re racing that weekend. Once I’m at the track, I usually have a good idea of the spots I will enjoy shooting from, but as the weekend progresses, new locations present themselves constantly. One in particular was at Indianapolis, a spot developed on the track near a dirt section, and the dirt was flying everywhere!
DOWNLOAD: CABOT BIGHAM WALLPAPERS
How do the drivers you work with differ in what they’re looking for from you? Do any of them get more hands-on than others with their photo requests?
On the Supercar side, Cabot Bigham is great. He loves to take a look at all the images, even the ones that don’t go on the site or on social media. Sometimes, Cabot requests images mainly to promote his brand. I think Cabot understands my taste in action photography and trusts my judgment. On the Lites side, Conner (Martell) and James (Rimmer) helped me capture some moments they were looking for early in the season, and we sort of clicked from that point on, capturing the winning moments, the learning moments, and the scary moments.
The guys over on DRR as well have all helped me progress as a photographer, Alex Keyes has pushed me and encouraged my work from the day I met him in Los Angeles in 2016. Christian Brooks and Travis Pecoy as well—we’ve all become close friends now. Sometimes I’m even caught up in special moments. When Christian took the win in Seattle, I was part of the celebration as well as capturing the moment!
How about the other drivers on the grid—I’m sure you get plenty of portfolio work out of the rest of the series, so are there any others that are among your favorites to shoot? What makes them stand out from the rest of the pack?
Tanner Foust. I’ve been a fan of Tanners for many, many years now. I feel lucky to have been able to capture some moments of Tanner in 2017, and can’t wait to sneak some more pics in 2018.
But I also love to photograph Subaru! I’m a Subaru WRX owner myself, on my 4th Subaru actually. So being loyal to my brand, I love to capture what SRTUSA puts together each and every year. I have been a huge fan of photographer Lars Gange for as long as I can remember, getting Subaru calendars in my office, and in fact I just recieved my latest calendar.
DOWNLOAD: GRC LITES WALLPAPERS
What was your biggest takeaway from the 2017 season?
The people! Ssurround yourself with people you enjoy, that’s the way to be happy in life. I’ve made some amazing friends in GRC this year. Cabot Bigham, Alex Keyes, Christian Brooks, James Rimmer, Conner Martell, Travis Pecoy, Ryan Rudolph, all the mechanics and crew at BHRS, the guys over at DRR, the whole crew at DirtFish, Trevor, Michelle, Steve and Malli, they were all amazing. The other photographers were all amazing to each other, and I enjoy calling them my colleagues. And of course the GRC media crew—Chris, you have done such an amazing job with the media portion of the series, and all the hard work Alyssa and the rest of your team does is underappreciated.
You’re too kind! Finally, looking forward to 2018—from your standpoint, if you were drawing up the schedule, is there any track you’d make sure was back on it for the shots you get?
I’m from the Boston area, so our visit to Thompson Speedway was my favorite this year by far. Living less than 2 hours from the track, it was nice to be so close to home. Plus the layout was amazing, having a oval circuit mixed with a road course, and to top it off, a bridge. I loved CT, and the locations to shoot from where plenty to choose from! In one photograph I took of Alex Keyes hood I was positioned on the bridged shooting down at the cars. I felt I was most creative in CT.
Photo credit: Corey Silvia