Photos by Jodi Johnson & Alyssa Nicole Photography
Although she’s never raced herself, Jodi Johnson spends a lot of time at the race track. Her brother Johnny Lewis – flat track professional, National #10 and the owner and founder of Moto Anatomy – started racing flat track as a teen, and it quickly became a family affair. Later, she met Jake Johnson (American Flat Track racer #5) and the two started dating and later married…yet another reason she spends so much time at dirt ovals around the country.
“I wanted to be able to help Jake,” Jodi said, “and I wanted to be supportive, so I’ve done everything from recording the races to timing riders in practice. Once they got transponders at the track I didn’t know what to do anymore, so I pulled my camera out and started taking pictures. Once I got my camera back in my hands, it just grew into something, and it’s evolved over the years.”
Her flat track photography has been getting more notice lately. Off the Groove podcast uses her photos regularly, and her work has been published in motorcycle publications like The Vintagent and even our own Thunder Press magazine.
Through the years she’s been involved in flat track racing behind the scenes, as well. “At one point I did rider signup for AMA Pro Racing (which became American Flat Track in 2016). I occasionally did scoring, which was terrifying and especially hard at Mile and pea gravel tracks where it was hard to see the riders. I’ve even been a trophy girl a few times at the Springfield Mile. Later, I worked with Aid to Injured Riders (AIR), a nonprofit designed to help injured riders before the creation of Class of ’79.”
Although her husband Jake Johnson continues to race in the American Flat Track series, she’s not overly involved in his racing program, which frees her up to take photos around the track and in the pits. “I’m there to offer moral support,” Jodi told us, “and he knows I’m there if he needs anything, but I don’t want to be in charge of getting his gear ready or anything because if something goes wrong I don’t want it to come back and be my fault. And that opened it up for me to take photos.”
Talk to her for a moment or simply view her photos and you can tell she loves it. “I just love to do it,” she said. “I also like taking a photo and writing something – my feelings and opinions – to go along with it. It’s a bit scary for me; I feel vulnerable. But in the future I’d like to do something even more creative with my photos.”
What she aims to capture with her photography is the heart of flat track racing. “I feel like my pictures are in the moment,” she mentioned. “They’re never staged. I’m just trying to capture the feeling of that day – the heart of it. I’m always looking for more than that perfect Turn-four exit photo. I want to capture the heart of people.”
For women who want to get involved in the motorcycle industry, Jodi offers a bit of advice. “If you have a passion for something, you want to have a voice and you feel drawn to the industry, take it and go with it. Become a part of the community and get to know the people. If you have something to bring to the table, they’ll appreciate it. And be prepared to fall in love with it…and the people.”
You can follow Jodi’s flat track photography at @jodimichellephotos on Instagram and Facebook. —Joy Burgess