Marton teenager Tayler Burke, 18, has received a breakthrough award in his young photography career. Burke won the President’s award for the single best shot at the annual MotorSport New Zealand awards held in Wellington at the weekend.
Burke has been a budding photographer since his early teens, focusing on his motorsport passion but exploring all facets of the craft from other sports through to astrophotography.
In late 2018 Burke picked up his first big client, being contracted by Marton company 38 Digital to become the official photographer of the New Zealand Formula First Championship, a national racing class. His images have also been used by many drivers including Marton’s Kaleb Ngatoa and Red Bull Racing Junior driver Liam Lawson.
“It all started years ago when I went to Manfeild borrowing my friend’s camera,” said Burke.
“I got a lot of good feedback back then and just stuck at it and eventually purchased my own camera and just showed up to as many events as I could and just tried to get my name out there generally
“It’s funny looking back now on the first weekend I took photos, I cringe a wee bit at them, but it’s also cool to see the progress I’ve made.”
The award-winning photo was taken at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park during the buildup to the Dennis Hulme Memorial trophy race. The image was chosen for its simplistic, yet striking composition.
“I had been trying all weekend to get the style of shot but wasn’t quite getting there with Liam Lawson’s car. The colours just weren’t working, but I finally got it with Jackson Walls however, I never thought it would be an award winner!”
“Sometimes less is more – a simply striking image that demands your attention, your eye is attracted to the image by the use of colour. An image that simply says let’s race!” said the judge.
MotorSport New Zealand CEO Brian Budd also added: “Well done to Tayler Burke as a first-time award winner with his striking image for the President’s best single shot award.”
Ironically, the photo was almost never entered as part of Burkes’ portfolio after deliberating over the final shot to enter with his friend.
“My mate and I were struggling to decide which six photos to enter for the portfolio and we almost went in favour of the action photos, looking at what images had won in previous years, but I’m thankful I liked it so much I decided to keep it in!”
Burke, currently working for his parent’s engineering company in Marton hopes to forge a career in photography and is grateful for the help and recognition he has received already.
“Obviously the long term plan is to become a professional photographer and this award certainly is a big step towards making that dream a reality but there’s a long way to go yet.
“I’ve got to thank the motorsport community for all their support and the experienced photographers who have been kind enough to offer me advice over the years.”