JEREMY ROGERS IS AN AWARD WINNING AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER WITH A SIDELINE IN WEB DESIGN, A PASSION FOR MOTORSPORT AND A HANKERING TO SPEND MORE TIME DRIVING HIS MINI COOPER S UP THE OXLEY HIGHWAY.
Jeremy Rogers has come to terms with the fact it is unlikely one of images will ever grace the cover of the world’s most poured over fashion publications.
Yet while feigning disappointment that he will never be asked to shoot for US Vogue et al, the career snapper is more than content with seeing his images dominate the world’s best motorsport magazines, commercial journals and an eccentric assortment of print ads and TVCs.
Reluctant to share his age because “I don’t tell anybody my age, let’s just say that I have been a photographer for well over 30 years”, Jeremy is an accredited professional aerial photographer who has lived and worked everywhere from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the Arctic Circle in Alaska.
These days he calls the NSW town of Port Macquarie home and it is from here that the self-employed shooter services an impressive array of clients ranging from multinational corporations such as Nestle, BP and Lendlease through to government departments such as the Roads and Maritime Services NSW and the Department of Health & Ageing from his portable studio.
A self-proclaimed “computer nerd”, Jeremy also runs his own successful web design company that to date has produced over 300 websites.
Yet it is for his impressive work in the field of motorsport that he is perhaps best known. As one of the few gold-level Confederation of Australian Motorsport accredited photographers, he shoots many major motorsports events across the country on behalf of brands such as Mazda, Subaru and Toyota. He has been the chief photographer for Rally Australia since it returned to the calendar in 2009 and is also in charge of producing the event’s media guide.
Jeremy says he has been a motorsport fanatic, interested in both cars and bikes since he was a child so it was only natural that he would eventually tie his appreciation of motorbikes and automotives into his ability to earn a living.
“I was very lucky to have a neighbour growing up who had a very close connection with Brands Hatch so I was able to get passes for events there. I started supplying images to local newspapers and it all snowballed from there. I have been lucky enough to shoot everything from Formula 1 to Nascar and rallycross to Indy cars all over the world. My main passion these days is rallying and the WRC. This is created to enable international photographers to have an insight into the best photo locations and also the best access into the stages and locations.”
The product of inveterate traveller parents, British-born Jeremy spent most of his teenage years living in Saudi Arabia and it was here he was first introduced to the craft which he would one day turn into a career.
“I have had no formal training to be a photographer. Despite what you might hear we had a wonderful time [in Saudi Arabia] with some incredibly friendly people. It was [while there] that one of my father’s colleagues who was a passionate photographer started to teach me the basics of photography that I still use to this day. When I returned to the UK I started working in a very busy studio that did weddings and commercial photography and it all started from there.”
He was thrown in the deep end with his first camera, a twin lens reflex, but has been a firm advocate of Nikon equipment since purchasing a Nikon F2AS early in his career.
A multiple award winner in the Australian Professional Photography Awards, Jeremy has tasked his array of Nikon camera bodies and lenses with shooting in an odd assortment of locations over the years with a “very hot dark warehouse that you could hardly see in” and a range of lady’s toilets among them. His Nikon gear also accompanied him the day he was afforded the rare opportunity to do an aerial night shoot over the city of Las Vegas.
While there are normally restrictions on flying directly over its most populous tourist attraction, The Strip, owing to its proximity to the airport and security issues, these were able to be circumnavigated thanks to the fact Jeremy has friends in high places.
“Fortunately, I have a friend with close ties to the Las Vegas police department so after a few calls we had special dispensation from the FAA for 20 minutes over The Strip. [We had] the ex-chief pilot of the Las Vegas Police Department flying the helicopter and my D610 mounted in a camera stabiliser. I [was able] to shoot at 1/250th sec and still get sharp images whereas normally from a helicopter I need 1/1000th sec or faster. We were also lucky to time the flight to be hovering over the fountains at the Bellagio just as the light show was starting,” he says.
Jeremy says while he would like to find more time for adventures such as these, the reality of being self-employed is that there is always work to be done editing photos or completing tax returns.
In addition, commercial realities are now more demanding than ever, he says.
“The turnaround times have reduced dramatically and everybody expects the images as soon as possible. It’s no longer a case of having three days to do a shoot, it’s more like do three shoots in one day.”
Yet it is the enormous variety of the work he is asked to do that provides him with both his biggest challenge but also his greatest sense of achievement.
One minute he could be asked to hang out of a helicopter at 3000 feet and the next he could find himself shooting a McDonald’s restaurant at dawn.
On a good day, he will be issued with a brief but admits that more often than not he arrives at the specified location with no idea of what to expect.
“I love the buzz you get from working like that, though. Improvise, adapt, survive has become my motto in those situations,” he says.
While he struggles to find adequate free time – he hasn’t had a holiday since 2012 and “I’m probably not going to get one until about 2022″, Jeremy is hopeful that 2018 will be the year he manages to find a little more time to indulge his passions outside of his life behind the lens.
“My very supportive wife and son really help but I love walking the dog on the beach, driving my Mini Cooper S up one of Australia’s best roads, the Oxley Highway, and sometimes you just have to get online and shoot some stuff without a camera on the Xbox…”
What’s in Jeremy’s bag:
- I don’t go anywhere without the “holy trinity” of Nikon lenses – the NIKKOR AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, NIKKOR AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR and the NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. These are the lenses I use day in day out.
- I have absolutely fallen in love with my D850 as the images are amazing so that is the first thing I put in my bag. The array of camera bodies I have worked with includes the D810, the D610, the D750 and the D200.
- I’m a huge fan of the Nikon flash system so I always carry plenty of speedlights just in case, plus I really like the Propac flash battery packs.
[Words by Tracey Porter]