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January 24, 2013 News
EKN.ca One-on-One: Photographer Gregory Lussier

Gregory Lussier has been making his mark in Canadian karting photography since 2007 (Photo: Bruno Dorais)
Gregory Lussier has been making his mark in Canadian karting photography since 2007
(Photo: Bruno Dorais)

Quebec-based Gregory Lussier is a well-known figure around the karting tracks of North America, having established himself as one of the leading lensman in the sport. Recently, eKartingNews.ca had the chance to speak with Gregory about how he got involved with karting, his highlights thus far, and what's on tap for 2013.

EKARTINGNEWS.CA: Let's start with some background information. Where were you born and where do you currently call home? How long have you been a photographer?

GREGORY LUSSIER: I was born in Montreal, but most of my family lived on the south shore. It took me 23 years, but now I live in Longueuil on the south shore of Montreal as well.

I started taking pictures when I was nine, and have never stopped since.

EKN.CA: How did you first getting involved with motorsports, particularly with regards to taking photos? Why focus on the karting ranks?

LUSSIER: I was making a list of things to do for the summer in 2007. The first item on my list was a karting race in St Hilaire. I showed up and took 1784 pictures with a small Nikon 5700. I had a great time. The rest of the list got scrapped, and I bought a new camera.

I focus on karts, because I believe it's pretty much the only motorsport where you can talk to the drivers and catch them early in their careers. You never know, we might have the next Formula One World Champion racing right now and we don't know it yet.

EKN.CA: You've established yourself as one the premier karting photographers. What do you think separates you from other photographers? Would you say you have a certain photo style?

LUSSIER: Premier karting photographer? Not really, lol. I still have a lot to learn, and I haven't really proven myself yet.

What separates me is still my grid pictures. I am the only one who concentrates a lot on those. They are really important for me, and yes, I have a different style. It keeps evolving over the years and equipment. In 2013, you will see more special effects using filters, angles, and Photoshop. I was experimenting with lens flares in Vegas and Portugal, and I am pretty satisfied with the results.

EKN.CA: When you go to an event, do you have pre-planned ideas on what you want to shoot, or do you just adapt to the event and conditions?

LUSSIER: If I know the track, I have pre-planned ideas and to try to get them. For the rest of the tracks, you will see me out bright and early walking around the track trying to imagine what the race will look like, so I adapt to the event and conditions. Sometimes, I even hope for rain to get different pictures.

EKN.CA: Do you have a favorite track or event that you most like taking pictures at?

LUSSIER: In Canada, Goodwood Kartways is still my favorite track. The only place where you have seven to eight different spots you can get to in one single session. We have a track in Chateau Richer (KCR) that is also one of my favorite. Sadly, we don't go there anymore. La Conca in Italy was also an amazing track to be at. So many legends raced there, and I was standing in the middle of it wondering how I got there..lol

EKN.CA: If you had one event that you have not yet covered and wished to take pictures at, what would it be?

LUSSIER: Any WSK event or the CIK/FIA World Championship. I would not say 'no' to the final ROK Cup Final race either.

EKN.CA: Unlike taking pictures at a car racing event, like say IndyCar where you are separated from the cars on track by safety walls and fences, in karting you can get very close to the action. Has this ever resulted in any scary incidents for yourself?

LUSSIER: I almost got hit by a lost tire in Trois-Rivieres in 2010, and I got the entire sequence of the tire flying off towards me until I moved out of the way. In 2012, a screwdriver (yes...a screwdriver) flew off from a kart and hit the barrier half a meter from where I was. Some tracks I feel very safe, others just scare me stiff each time. ICAR is one of those tracks where I feel I will get hurt one day.

Lussier's photo of Joel Jens at the SKUSA SuperNationals has been used in numerous publications (Photo: Gregory Lussier - babelphotos.ca)
Lussier's photo of Joel Jens at the SKUSA SuperNationals has been used in numerous publications
(Photo: Gregory Lussier - babelphotos.ca)

EKN.CA: From the outside looking in, being a race photographer appears to be fun and easy. What are some of the things that people don't see that you do in order to provide quality pictures to the media, events, sponsors, drivers/teams, and families?

LUSSIER: They don't see the work being done at home. It takes many hours to put quality pictures on the site, and I make sure that every pictures I put on are clear and in focus. Since this is not my full time job (I am a mailman) I don't have as much time as others photographers to do this.

EKN.CA: If you had any advice to give to aspiring race photographers, what would it be?

LUSSIER: Don't do it for money, you will quit in the first year. Do it for fun, make some contacts, develop your skills, work hard, and you will get noticed. Don't be surprised if you get noticed by someone outside your country. That is what happened to me. I have more support outside of North America than in Canada.

EKN.CA: Outside of motorsports, what other sports or activities do you really enjoy taking pictures of?

LUSSIER: Fencing. I've been practicing the sport for 33 years now and taking pictures at competitions where I don't compete, like the juniors, cadets, and 15 year-old.

EKN.CA: Do you one photo that you consider your premier shot. If so, what is it?

LUSSIER: It's hard to choose one picture, but yes, I have a premier shot. It as been published so many times on so many magazines, that it must be my published premier shot. It's Joel Jens on the verge of flipping in Las Vegas in 2011. On the Facebook front, it has to be the Angry Birds picture with Santino Ferrucci.

EKN.CA: Let's end things about talking about the upcoming year. What are your current plans with regards to kart racing photography? What events are you looking at covering?

LUSSIER: In 2013, I will take it one race at the time. The ECKC in Canada will be the series I will mostly cover for TKart Magazine. I may do some of the other races if needed and if time allows me to do them. Of course, the SuperNationals and the Rotax Worlds are still on the schedule in 2013.

EKN.CA: Thank you very much for speaking with eKartingNews.ca and its readers.

Additional EKN.ca One-on-One features, please visit HERE
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