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A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: WRC Photographer Shares Life Story Through His Work
Are you an aspiring or active race driver or rider? Are you struggling to find sponsorships to support your career? Then you might need one of the following in your life: a manager, a PR officer, a Social Media Manager, a videographer, and a photographer. Scrap that previous thought. You're going to need all of those people at once. And don't even think that you can hire one person to fill in all those roles, that's not a good idea.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: WRC Photographer Shares Life Story Through His Work

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We live in an age where content is king. Good quality photos and videos will play an important role in your racing career, whether you believe that or not. Going into a new season of racing, you should be in touch with at least two or three skilled photographers.

Talk to them, tell them what you want, and put it all in writing. If your main choice won't be able to attend one of your races, you should always have a backup plan. And keep in mind that each motorsport has its own set of rules and particularities.

What we're trying to say here is that a photographer who is highly experienced in shooting models in a studio will probably be terrible out in the field, at least at first. Someone who has been going to drifting events for years won't necessarily be the best choice for a motorcycle road racing event.

But given enough time and patience, any man or woman can learn to adapt to a new environment. In today's story, we are once again looking at the person behind the lens. Because good shots aren't made by good cameras, they're made by a combination of cameras and people who are skilled at their job.

Bogdan Barabas remembers becoming interested in photography at an early age. But it was about 15 years ago that he picked up a Nikon D80 camera and started taking photos of cars.

The first time he attended a National Rally Stage it was raining outside, and he had no clue as to what kind of settings were required for good quality shots. Those photos, albeit blurry and poorly executed, are still stored away on an old hard drive as a testament to his humble beginning.

I asked Bogdan about his first-ever international event, and the answer struck a sensible chord with me: "Well, it happened over ten years ago, it was a drift event. I had been invited by a media team to shoot that event, and you were part of it too."

I do remember that Bogdan was a skilled photographer even back then, as I requested his assistance in covering for another photographer that was not available for that race. So it's even more amazing to see how far he's taken his passion for immortalizing exciting motorsport moments.

Going from national rally stages to international drift events there was one step left for the 33-year-old photographer to reach the top. In 2016 he jumped on an airplane with a photographer friend, and they flew to Sweden and Finland for the first two stages of the World Rally Championship.

"We went there without having a media accreditation. It was almost impossible to get one if you've never shot a WRC event before. So I used the photos from the two races to get accreditation via an Italian rally magazine called Tutorally. I'm still working with them today."

The idea of interviewing Bogdan came upon seeing his latest photos from the WRC Safari Rally in Kenya. Some of those shots look like they were taken straight out of Mad Max: Fury Road! So far, he has taken photos at 49 stages of the World Rally Championship.

I don't know about you, but that's 49 more WRC events than I have ever attended. "Every WRC stage has its special appeal. It's always exciting when it happens at a new location. Some of my favorite races are the ones in Finland, Mexico, Kenya, Turkey, and Sweden."

Over the years, he has gathered plenty of memories from traveling across the globe. From the insane jumps in Finland to seeing camera helicopters flying close to the ground in Mexico or zebras on the side of the road in Kenya, you could say he's seen it all.

While shooting at the events is the most important thing of any given race weekend, it's not the most difficult one. Dealing with dozens of international flights per year, while uncomfortably seated in economy class is going to leave a toll on most people.

Finding a good rental car once he arrives at the destination can also be quite a challenge. "For some races, I end up driving about 2,000 km in three or four days. It's my home and office for a few days, and the only thing that matters is that I deliver the best possible photos I can deliver".

Although he used to sometimes risk his life by taking photos from dangerous angles when he was younger, he's gone past that point. And this even saved his life in 2021, in Croatia.

He had placed a camera with an automatic trigger on a tripod in an unsafe area around a corner, and it was soon obliterated by a car while he was at a safe distance. "It's just not worth risking your life over a good photo. You have to be safe at all times because you never know when things can go wrong."

At this point, all that Bogdan can dream of is getting his hands on a Nikon Z9 camera and heading over to shoot at F1 in Monaco, the Dakar Rally, Le Mans, Pikes Peak, and the Isle of Man TT. We wish him the best of luck and thank him for his service in the field of global motorsports!



 
 
 
 
 

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