Mikey Spice supporting motor sport through photography
When you think of motor sport, you think of race cars, motorbikes, adrenaline, roaring engines, and championship titles. Typically, one would associate the sport with the excitement of being on the track. However, there are quite a number of stakeholders who are dedicated to capturingthe events. Michael Samuels, also known as ‘Mikey Spice’, has been dedicated to photographing all genres of motor sport since 2008.
With a job at the time that frequently took him to the countryside, Mikey Spice discovered an interest in photography through capturing the stunning views of our scenic island. The interest developed into a feasible professional pursuit when Spice brought photos to his friend and former motor sport photographer Gerald Tyndale.
“He said I had an eye for photography, so being that he was in motor sport, he actually brought me to Rally Jamaica 2008, and that was my first taste of motor sport. I did very well, and he continued to coach me, so that is how the love for motor sport photography developed,” he said.
Though he did not have a deep interest in motor sport prior, Spice was an observer of the street racing around him. “It was just a pastime then, but it was something I liked. I didn’t know that I’d love it this much, but with the number of years I’ve been doing it, I’ve grown to love it,” he said.
A photographer dedicated to his craft
If you are in or around the motor sport scene in Jamaica, you have almost certainly heard the name ‘Mikey Spice’. The photographer is known for his dedication to attending any and every motor sport event possible, both locally and regionally. When asked about the reasons behind this dedication to the sport, Spice told Automotives, “I’ve always said that when it comes to photography, everybody must have a good picture. And I like motor sport photography, so every car, every driver must have a good picture. And in so doing, it has kind of helped to preserve motor sport history in Jamaica and in the Caribbean. It’s legacy – something that, when I leave this Earth, at least I know that I had something that I have contributed to Jamaica and/or the wider Caribbean.”
It’s these factors that keep the film rolling, despite the obvious challenges that can come with being a motor sport photographer in Jamaica. “It’s something that I do love, but it costs money, it costs time, it costs effort,” Spice revealed.
Money and editing tend to be the ‘biggest headaches’, but the man behind the lens would claim that the job is worth it. “When you see people happy, when you see people saying ‘thank you’ for the images they like, motor sport people, together, are a family and a team of individuals, so when you see the happy smiles and the fact that they thank you for their image, I feel good about that,” he said.
In addition to putting smiles on faces, Spice also uses his work to support the other stakeholders of motor sport who might be facing challenges because the sport, as Spice admits, sometimes seems to be “dying a slow death”.
“For those persons that remain in it, I’m taking it upon myself to offer this free exposure to them as a sort of encouragement for them to continue doing what they’re doing. It’s just my way of contributing to the visibility of the sport, regionally, to offer some sort of incentive to the sponsors and also to the people who just love to race,” he said.
Ironically, if one were to view the images posted by one ‘Mikey Spice’ online, motor sport would seem to be flourishing. Spice explained to Automotives that this is very much intentional: “I take so many images and put them online because I want to get out as many images as possible of these people because the more people can see themselves, and the more sponsors see themselves, it is a good look for the online community and forms some kind of continuity for the sport.”
After over a decade of providing this kind of support to Jamaican and regional motor sport (alongside his sponsors, Stewart Autosales, Lubit Lubricant, KFC, and Tru-Juice), Spice shows no sign of slowing down. Even as he’s busy editing the albums of motor sport, the photographer is looking forward to directing his lens for years to come.