The Best Photos of 2015: Chris Owens

Published On December 28, 2015 » 2100 Views» By admin » Blogs, IMS, Indy 500, Photography

We’re looking back on 2015 through the lenses of IMS photographers. Today, Chris Owens shares his favorites.

MORE BEST OF 2015: Shawn Gritzmacher | John Cote | Chris Jones | Bret Kelley

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Jeff Gordon, Indy 500 Pace Car driver

This had a weird energy – we were shooting something IndyCar-related with a driver who’s never driven in an Indy car. But it was cool for Jeff Gordon to have any affiliation with the Indy 500, and you could tell it was special for him as well. For me, anytime I have to shoot a driver, it’s in a firesuit and never in street clothes. I really liked to get him in a natural element, and it’s a clean photo. Normally I have people running around in the background.

 

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That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Prior to shooting this photo, I’d have never thought I’d have been in a Mardi Gras parade. You can see how genuinely excited everyone is – like “this is crazy.” I purposely didn’t frame up a photo, I left the corner leading into the street where you see the sea of people. It was like this for something like eight miles. Eventually you get tired of smiling and being so excited.

Jane's Addiction on Carb Day

Jane’s Addiction on Carb Day

I kind of really like the emotion on Perry Farrell’s face, he’s really into the concert and grooving with the music. The girl in the background is pretty bizarre, so it’s a weird contrast. I really like the light hitting the side of Perry’s face there, it’s really bright. But the subject isn’t blown out – he’s wearing black and she’s wearing black.

 

In the stands at Long Beach

In the stands at Long Beach

That’s maybe my favorite race photo from this year. I almost didn’t take it because I’m kind of weird about getting in people’s personal space, especially with strangers. I had to talk to fans who paid good money for their seats to let some stranger hang out with them for five minutes. I manned up and went and did it, and the people were great. I just love on the right side how they lead up and curve, and you’ve got the palm trees and the cars and the buildings. It’s hard to take a picture and make it show what the situation and what’s going on, but this has everything. This is exactly what the event looks like.

 

The best victory circle in motorsports

The best victory circle in motorsports

In my opinion, this is the easiest set photo. This doesn’t have to be anything more, it’s got everything. This is what the 500 is: A bunch of people wore out after a 15-hour day and reaping the benefits. One of the most cherished victories in sport, and these guys have done it.

 

Setting sun over the Pagoda

Setting sun over the Pagoda

It was just a practice day and, for whatever reason, a rough one on me. I remember being stressed and ready to go home. I got out a little earlier than I usually would and got all the way to the front gates, then right as a I turned to exit and went down the tunnel, I caught the sun. Really good, really good photography light, easily 15 minutes away from coming down behind the Pagoda. So I did a U-turn, came right back out of the tunnel and hung out on the exit of Turn 2 and started shooting it in different ways. I realized this would go right behind the Pagoda, right between those top two floors. I left later that day than I normally would.

 

A wink from Nicky Hayden

A wink from Nicky Hayden

That’s my favorite photo from MotoGP. Nicky is a really nice guy, genuine, like the neighbor next door. He really enjoys working with IMS and its employees, it was his home track. He would stop and pose for you.

 

Marc Marquez and the calm before the start

Marc Marquez and the calm before the start

I enjoy the editing I’ve done on this. It’s a little over-sharpened, a little higher contrast, but it tells a story too. We’re at IMS and you have the Yard of Bricks and the Pagoda. I like how he’s looking into the frontstretch, into the first turn. He’s the boss, on the pole, super solid and focused. He didn’t look either way the whole time. I’m sure he was strategizing, “how am I going to do this?” The photo kind of describes his day – out in front.

 

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It’s really important to cover all drivers extensively because you never know how long they’re going to be with that sponsor, or that team, or even how long they’ll be alive, as morbid as that sounds. This photo, I remember liking it, but now it’s more important. And I love the Pagoda in the background, it screams “I’m at Indy.” I like his look of focus too. This is on Opening Day, his first time in an Indy car that day. It’s one of my favorite pictures of him.

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