July 28, 2015 by Joanna Sarbinowska
Bodylines of vehicles, sensational locations, dreams of racing and a dead body, intrigue, and CPR. This is what you will find in the Skylar’s story of car photography, which seems to be a serious business though. Skylar Nielsen usually tells us a poetic story of his life via his photos but this time, he shares a story from the backstage, of how all that comes true. Is that the mixture of harshness of the deserts of Zion and the passion to be a sculptor, which planted his austere professionalism? See the most impressive photos by Skylar, which he shares with us exclusively in this interview, directly from the desert racing shoot.
Production Paradise: Your photography specializes in shooting cars and transportation; what is it about this type of photography that excites you?
Skylar Nielsen: My early passion to be a sculptor manifested itself into the form of affection for high gloss car paint and bodylines of vehicles and transportation objects of any kind- airplane, truck, cement mixer, assault vehicle.
Production Paradise: What photographic techniques do you use to reflect a car’s character?
Skylar Nielsen: The cars or vehicles come with their own form, its my job to find the best light and location to showcase that beauty and intrigue.
Production Paradise: Your car photography features a lot of landscape. Do you think there is a liaison between cars and nature?
Skylar Nielsen: Absolutely, cars and vehicles in general are almost always outside. They are made to live and perform outside, so why not shoot them outside? If I have a choice, I would much rather be shooting outside in sensational locations, rather than in a dark studio!
Production Paradise: Have you experienced any extraordinary situations during a photo shoot?
Skylar Nielsen: I probably don’t have enough space to complete the story. This one time, I was shooting an off-road desert race for a client and I was chasing the truck via a helicopter. It was a 14 hour race and about half way in, their race truck veered off course and stopped. I put my race control head set on and heard the co-driver screaming for us to land, we landed and I ran to the vehicle. The co-driver (who was the driver’s son) was screaming “he’s dying, he’s dying”. I took his helmet off and heard the driver (my client) take his last breathes as the death gargles set in. I took him out and performed CPR for 45 minutes until the race team showed up. He died that day. I will never forget the sand as it blew into his open eyes, staring at the sun. As surreal as it was, in the end, it was poetic.
Production Paradise: Do you get the opportunity to test drive the car before photographing it, and is the cars performance important when you’re deciding how to portray it?
Skylar Nielsen: I always ask, but it always seems that the cars and trucks are “test cars” or just a prototype and it has to go to some car show. One day, I know my dreams of racing the test car around the track will come true. In the meantime, I will keep asking.
Production Paradise: Do you have a photo that you are particularly proud of and can you tell a little about the story behind it?
Skylar Nielsen: They all have stories, that is why I take pictures – to tell stories.
Production Paradise: How has Production Paradise worked for you?
Skylar Nielsen: Production Paradise has given me much more international exposure to the exact people I want to be in front of, Creatives in the Automotive industry, and help expose me to potential new industry makers. The digital curation of their website and consistent quality content, keep everyone on the Production Paradise site relevant and visible. Even when I miss my deadline to be featured, I still find inspiration on Production Paradise.
You can find more about Skyler and other best car photographers from around the world in our directory.