It should come as no surprise that one of the country’s best motorsports photographers is from a place so enamored with race day. Jamey Price, Award winning photographer, was born and raised here in Charlotte.
His interest in photography was not his life’s first aspirations; although his love affair with the camera eventually won out. Price has always had an affinity for speed, action, and risk. Growing up near the farms of South Charlotte, Price got his fix racing on real horsepower: steeplechase thoroughbreds. He has ridden and won at some of the most competitive tracks in the south. In college at Centre in Danville, Kentucky, Price filled his need for speed by swimming competitively. In between long training days that started at the rooster’s crow and usually consisted of five hard miles in the pool, Price studied International Relations and History. However, he eventually discovered that was not what he was going to spend his life doing. Influenced by both of his grandmothers who worked as professional photographers, Price says his “eye came naturally. I was given my first proper camera for my 21st birthday.” At Centre, he put that camera to use working for the college newspaper: the proverbial bottom rung of the photography ladder. There he started to hone his natural photography ability.
In 2008, after realizing photography was truly in his blood, he decided to pursue the craft professionally. However, he didn’t want to go the traditional route of most photographers. He had no interest in wedding photography, studio work, or events. Instead he wanted to pursue the competitive field of motorsports.
Since the age of 11, Price has been an an avid Formula One fan. To a young child, these races were not only “fast” but “colorful.” “The places they raced were exotic and exciting. It was just different to anything I had seen on TV before,” explains Price. The fact that Formula One races use open-wheeled, single-seat race cars with the best drivers in the most powerful and technically advanced cars appealed to him. His love for F1 only grew when he was able to see and hear the cars in person at his first race in 2005: the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Now, nearly a decade later, he spends much of his time behind the lens, ear plugs in to drain out the shrill of 210 miles per hour, finger on the trigger of his Nikon D3s, capturing world-class images at the best tracks around the globe.
Price has worked hard to get to where he is today; very hard. He started out photographing small events at local dirt tracks in North Carolina and Kentucky. His first photo shot with credentials was at a lawn mower race. After shooting at small venues for a while, Price finally got up the nerve and spent his own money to head to The Monaco Grand Prix to prove that he was good enough to shoot sports photography at one of the highest levels. “I spent that whole weekend with my eye through the viewfinder,” says Price. But it paid off.
The work is challenging and the days run long. Most race weekends go from 6am -11pm, sometimes even longer. The longest race Price has covered was 12 hours at Sebring. The day starts with “wake up at 4am, then a photo meeting at 6am, followed with morning warm up around 8am and then the race starts at 10am. For the next 12 hours you’re shooting the race, running and walking around jostling for position, sitting in the hot sun, lugging heavy gear, all while doing the job to the best of your ability. It’s not easy. There’s a lot to juggle on a race weekend,” says Price.
Besides the thrill of photographing Formula One races, Price also loves capturing the images of NASCAR, travel photography, portraits, and more. “I get to see a lot of amazing places while capturing a little bit of it on film,” says Price. His racing photography has taken him to exotic locations all over the world including Spain, Switzerland, England, Italy, and Canada as well as many spots around the USA including the infamous Pike’s Peak. His most recent F1 experience took place on the island country of Singapore, a perfect setting that featured a dramatic skyline and breathtaking lighting. All of this sounds great, but according to Price, “If you hate air travel, this is not the job for you. But I don’t mind it. I enjoy traveling and exploring, everyone I meet, and I’m just really fortunate that people find my work valuable enough to ship me around the globe.”
“Fortunate.” That’s the way Price looks at life, just as he should. Being a professional photographer allows him to express himself as the unique artist he is through the sport he loves. We should all be so lucky and so driven. For more information or to book Jamey for sports photography, portraits, or other interests please visit JameyPricePhoto.com.