If you follow our blog you will notice that we aren’t shy about using Brandon Hallmark’s photos. Brandon Hallmark started Gearbanger studios a year ago TODAY! This kid has been been shooting us since his first day so it is pretty awesome to see how his work has grown and his name has become as popular as it has. Brandon works hard to get to all events, but as a privateer photographer it is hard to travel to all the events that we attend, so when we see him at the track it is always a pleasure because we know good photos will be taken that day of all drivers. We chose to sit down with Brandon to celebrate his company’s 1-year anniversary to show our appreciation of his work and support of TBTM.
What sparked your interest to get into photography?
It’s funny I really had no interest in photography up into about a year and half ago. I had a photography class my freshman year of high school and actually got D in it because it was so boring, and I could really care less what depth of field or rules of thirds even meant. I went to my first Sonoma Drift with my father the first year it was open, and just had an amazing time and loved every second of it I won’t ever forget it, after about 3 Sonoma drift’s I attended I really wanted to have a picture from the skid pad as a wallpaper and couldn’t find any on google and didn’t know about the Facebook page so I asked my parents if I could borrow our family camera ( a point and shoot old sony camera) and took it out for the night. I took about 50 pictures which I thought was a crazy amount and had about 3 that were just “wow” moments …that moment I fell in love with photography.
What is your favorite environment to shoot in?
I can’t say I have a favorite. Anytime I can shoot an event I’m happy. Sonoma Raceway is my home for photography so if I had to choose I’d say there; just because of the awesome vibes that happen there from the drivers, photographers, spectators and the track workers it’s always a good time for me.
What sparked the idea to formulate Gearbanger Studios?
I wanted somewhere I can share all these pictures instead of just my tumblr I had at the time (hd-drift.tumblr.com) because I was shooting more pictures with my first DSLR and wanted the drivers to see them and share the moments I captured. I was hanging out with a few buddies, and we were talking about our first time driving 5 speeds and someone had said they hate when they bang gears on accident and it honestly just clicked and after shooting my first big event Summer Jam at Sonoma Raceway Gearbanger Studios was made and the first Facebook post was created on August 11th 2013.
What are your goals for Gearbanger Studios?
To just be able to share what I see and feel at drift events, car shows or really any automotive event and to hopefully inspire other people to go to these events. I’d love to be able to shoot more pro events like Formula Drift or WTCC to share on my blog.
Edward Khoma and Alex Wong were my two really big inspirations for me to take this more serious. Seeing their work looked so amazing that it was unreal and thats been a huge goal of mine that I’m still working on.
What makes the “perfect” shot?
For drifting I’d say something that doesn’t only capture the car but something that you can see the emotions of the event. It doesn’t have to be the car driving. It could be as simple as someone waiting for their turn to drive the course. If someone can capture an exact moment that truly explains, “yup that guy gave it his all and the crowd was pumped” then that would be an ideal perfect picture to me.
Please tell us about your first drift event experience as a photographer?
It was awesome, being able to be so close to the cars was a huge difference. A few close calls, but it was so much fun I couldn’t stop talking about it.
Do you see yourself catching that fever to drift? If so what would be your car of choice and why?
Man catching…I’ve already caught it haha. After going to a lot of drift events in the past year watching these people just tear it up makes me want a drift car so bad. I’ve thought about this very question a thousand times, and I’d have to say a 2jz powered BMW would be my choice along with a 95′ M3 or a LS powered S13. The 2j just has that distinctive sound that’s just so damn beefy and powerful. BMW’s are beautiful cars so you really don’t have to do a lot of visual mods to make those cars look good. I like the S13 because there are so many ways you can customize those cars it’s crazy! My choice of the LS power plant comes from the inspiration of riding with Joe Tardiff and the fact that I grew up around V8 powered cars.
Please send us some of your favorite shots that you took. (They do not have to be TBTM related)
Brandon’s favorite photos are the ones posted above throughout the post!