ARTICLE (002) - Catching up with Kyle Stirling, Automotive Lifestyle Photographer & Cinematographer for Mulgari Cars
Kyle is one of Jabrock’s key ambassadors and for his incredible input with the brand so we sat down to do a featured article on him about he became a photographer.
Kyle is a vital and valued member of the Jabrock team in helping us capture much of our crisp images and soon feature videos. After a busy day’s work helping us shoot the new SS19 collection of Luxury sunglasses we poured Kyle a well-deserved glass of whiskey and got him sharing his journey in Automotive Lifestyle Photography and how it began.
Do you remember the moment you realised you wanted to be a photographer? Talk us through what you remember the expectations of the future in photography looked like to you in that moment?
The first time I realised I wanted to do video and photography was at college, after a couple of months into the course it grew on me and became my main subject. It evolved into a career path when I did some lifestyle photography and a video for a DJ friend playing out at Brixton tunnels. That event gave me the push and drive to follow this path. I originally thought I would work in music, but from my passion for extreme motorsports I started photographing at automotive events which turned into a fulltime career. Filming for motorsport shows inspired me to explore other extreme sports, mostly BMX and mountain biking.
Going from wanting to be, to becoming a professional Automotive Lifestyle Photographer/videographer, what has been the challenges you have had to overcome that you didn’t consider when you first chose this as your career?
In the area I am shooting in with automotive lifestyle, there are a lot of wide varieties in terms of style, so keeping up to date with everyone and staying relevant was the challenge. The music choices, the cuts and transitions are mostly what the competition are focused on. The making for me was the clarity, this was the main focus, how crisp my shots looked was what I wanted to perfect. My music choice during an edit was different to everyone else, sometimes people thought what is this?! But it worked, on my attention to detail of clarity and my unconventional music choices I felt stood me apart in the industry. Also, the sound of motors is not as simple as putting a mic on top of the camera, there’s a lot of work that goes into editing to create a crisp sound like you are experiencing it live.
When did your love for fast cars begin? And how did you bring the two passions together?
The love for cars has been ingrained in me since day one. It all started with my dad (Robbie Stirling). One of the highlights in his career as a racing driver that stands out to me is when he raced for Team Nasamax back in 2004. They were the first team to finish the Le Mans 24 hours (featured in Article 001) using a renewable fuel called Bio-ethanol. It finished 7th in the LMP1 class that year, and was the fastest car of all in a straight line, all running off of bio-ethanol made from potatoes. This was awesome for my dad and the team showing an eco-friendly race car can keep up and even thrive with the competition. I’m from a family of four brothers, racing was something i was always interested in. From my early karting days and motocross alongside my brother Dean, I then traded the engine for a downhill mountain bike which I spent a couple years pursuing before finally picking up a camera and finding my true passion. After this though, my passion for fast cars didn’t stop and I became a big fan of the VW scene and I still am to this day building, modifying and restoring them as a hobby on the side. This then led me to manage to combine both where I started creating blogs/feature films on modified car brands within the industry.
Can you define a moment in your life you felt you broke boundaries that you didn’t think you were capable of achieving and how did that moment feel?
It would have to be a documentary I did for DesignerMark O’Donoghue called The Passionwhich is a creative insight into a real car enthusiast, the story behind him and the collaborated creators. This advanced my profession considerably in this industry, I became very particularand put a lot of prep into this project. It was such a strong topic I wanted to make sure we captured the vision of all involved. We filmed over the course of a 3 months, whilst I was running my own company called Archive Media (https://vimeo.com/archivemedia). The response we got from this was unreal, it was based on the life of a paralysed driver called Wayne Simpson and because of the scale of this documentary we collaborated with other companies in order to get more reach and production value. When we released this documentary of Wayne’s story it gathered such a good response, it went viral and reached as far as the US on the coduct.co website, with nearly 100.000 views in the first month. The response was great. I love being able to tell a story and there are lots of exciting stories out there. I’m looking forward to whatever the next story will be as I just love the process.
Such an inspiring video! Would you be abe to show us three images of your work that shows the growth in your skills from when you started to now and talk us through it?
Camera: Panasonic Lumix G2
This one is a part of my coursework for Photography A Level. During my early days of experimenting in photography at college, most of what I shot was black and white. I didn’t have a clue about proper procedures of camera set up. Grading is poor with not much effort to capture more of the scene or composition to the image.
Camera: Canon 5D MKII
My first job in automotive lifestyle film and photography was with 3SDM Wheels on. Here I have a much better understanding of composition and lighting with a higher level of grading put into the end product. Only downside I was still taking mostly everything by hand, no use of a tripod which would leave slight motion in some of my shots and shooting really low gave a harsh bokeh (blur) which is a style with this type of photography but not something I tend to do as much of today. This also led me into my product photography where I began playing with lighting a lot more to achieve those crispy details in the custom 3-piece wheel
Camera: Sony A7s ii
Moving into mirrorless was a big step and switch up as i was so used to canon but the colours and clarity was exactly what i was aiming for with the canon. Below is one of my most recent shots taken for Mulgari Cars of this stunning Lamborghini Super Trofero properly on a tripod with a softer f stop delivers a smoother image all round with that sony clarity whilst still pulling focus onto the right areas. My grading is much more intense, and I have begun digging deeper experimenting with colour and hues without over sharpening which I tended to do on my earlier shots due to the hand held movement trying to regain that clarity. I try to stay as true to the colours as I can whilst at the same time adding a styled effect to the image, giving it that pop without over doing it.
As for the future I will always look into trying new techniques and styles like light painting for instance which is something I’ve always wanted to perfect, example below. I will always be looking at trying new styles when it comes to my filming. A drone and building a full-blown filming rig out of the back of my car for those super smooth rolling shots is on the list. For now, I’m happy working where I am making promotional content but my passion for documentaries and long feature length films is still something I really want to get into as it will allow me to get even more creative and the projects will be more in depth. I enjoy telling a story, I would love to work within this industry at some point in my career and something I will definitely look into in the near future.
Lastly what shoots so far have been the most fun that you have done with Jabrock eyewear and what is your chosen frame that you wear?
There’s been a couple shoots that have stuck with me so far, one being when we took out a Nissan GTR Nismo and casually had a friend get towed alongside on a skateboard rocking a pair of the Jabrock shades. Not only was it cool to capture something unique like this, but it was also done on a quiet country road during golden hour which really brought out the colours and made for an awesome backdrop. Secondly, I would have to say one of our earlier shoots down at GoodWood motor circuit for a monthly drivers meet. Headed down to capture some content for the brand and ended up coming across one of Jackie Stewarts signed Lola’s owned by a private collector (not sure on model pictured below)
The Bullrun are my preferred choice of design, with their unique shape and super comfy fit sometimes forget I’m wearing them. I had a pair in green in the beginning but have now moved on to the gold lens for a more subtle feel. Only downside…the polarized lenses are so good that when I wear them filming, I couldn’t see my monitor screen as it blocks it out…aye at least they're doing their job properly. (kyle’s chosen style of frame pictured below)
Always a pleasure catching up with you Kyle! Watch this space!