Trent Sherrill, Featured Photographer

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If you saw a black and white photo of Trent Sherrill, you’d almost think you were looking at a hot rodder from back in the day.  He is not just someone who appreciates traditional hot rods, but presents his photography, and even himself in the 1950’s tradition.  Viewing his photos is like being transported back to a simpler time, where carbs and leaf springs were considered technology, and getting your first car was the ultimate rite of passage.  In an age of everything post-production, Trent barely processes his photos because he wants to maintain the simplicity and purity of the time period by which he is hugely inspired.   At just 26 years old, Trent Sherrill is sort of an anomaly.  It isn’t usually until someone gets older that they want to preserve some sort of tradition, but it seems he has felt this need for quite some time.  Here, we talk with Trent about how he got here, what he loves, and what he wants to do next.

We all have someone who initiated our passion for cars. Your love of cars came from your dad, right?

Yes, my father religiously took us to Famoso speed way (drag strip near Bakersfield) so at a young age, I was into cars.  My dad had a few as I was growing up and also had this 57 Chevy 2dr hardtop that always sat in our yard (it had more of a 70’s build with stance and such). I gave that car to my sister years back and now our friend Jorel Shockley of Shockley’s Kustoms is rebuilding it right now

Most of us had automotive posters on our walls as kids (like the Lamborghini Countach). Did you?

Honestly I didn’t have a lot of automotive stuff on my wall, mostly it was baseball, some World War II stuff. Maybe a Famoso related poster, but that was all.

Traditional hot rods and kustoms aren’t generally the fastest or most expensive cars out there. What draws you to them?

What draws me to them is simply that I’m attracted to the era it portrays. Just like a woman, we all love different shapes and sizes, and using that concept traditional cars really are my weakness. Thats why street rods / rat rods do really nothing for me because they don’t catch my eyes like a bitchin clean kustom does or an aggressive hot rod.

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You do a great job of keeping everything period correct in your photos, even the models’ hair and wardrobe. What inspired you to use that approach?

When I was on a road trip with Skratch ( Skratch’s Garage ), he asked me “What do you really wanna do with your photography, What is your approach?” When i told him, “I want to do things simple and like the older days” he reached around the seat and grabbed a stack of Andy Southard Jr books and old hot rod mags and told me, “Read this, and you’ll get it.” Then I was hooked!!!!! Also, seeing how clean and simple these era photos can be, made me want to have work that could be seen by all audiences like the movie Sandlot. It’s “PG”, so any person can enjoy it. If I made my work “Rated R”, it limits my audience

Have you thought about using film, or is that taking it too far?

I just got a vintage film video camera but still need to get film for it. I wanted to film my shoots with it so it really can look like actual footage from the era I’m trying to recreate, but I’m so swamped with stuff that digital is the key to keeping up on my shoot requests and turn around for magazines / customers

You’ve managed to make quite a name for yourself as a photographer in a fairly short amount of time. Do you see yourself branching out into other creative endeavors as well? Is there any particular media you’d like to explore?

I’ve been thankful enough to do all the right things to establish myself in the automotive industry, and lately I’ve been focusing on doing the same in MMA documenting. I’ve been a fan since I was younger and currently train Muay Thai (a form of a martial art) It’s a part of my life, so that’s my next goal, And I’ve actually already started to travel and do video interviews of MMA fighters in the UFC.

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When was the last time you saw a photo by another photographer, and thought, “I wish I had taken that photo”

I get that feeling for sure when I look at vintage books or magazines. It was so easy for them to have everything correct because they are living in the actual era, as if I was shooting 2015 era stuff, its easy I can just walk outside and shoot.

Do you have a favorite car you’ve shot? Favorite location?

Haha, I hate answering stuff like this because I love every day that I live and every person that shoots with me and treats me well. I’m thankful to have shot amazing cars in amazing spots. Honestly, I can’t answer it for just one shoot. All I can say my favorite “set up” is to have a car and girl who compliment each other with a great background in pure sunlight with some cool clouds, maybe some mountains or a cool building; That’s my favorite

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The number of publications geared towards Hot Rods and Kustoms has diminished slightly over the years. Has that affected your work at all?

Honestly, no, because the magazines I shoot for are still around. Most of my work is one-on-one shoots that lead into magazine features, and that’s with me not wanting to shoot for certain magazines I don’t like, too. Although I could shoot their style, I’d rather do what I love every day and not do what I have to for money.

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You obviously have an affinity for traditional Hot Rods. Do you have one, or have plans on building one?

The last car in that era was my 54 Olds (324 – 2dr hardtop) that I was planning to be my old driver, but I ended up selling it back to my friend when I thought I was going to be moving back to CA years ago. I just paid off my new truck so I really want a roadster or try to have the museum (Dick’s Classic Garage) sell me the 49 Olds we have here 🙂 haha… UNLESS I can talk Lars on selling me this Desoto grill-faced Ford roadster. If he reads this.. Lars, I love you. Sell me that car hahaha

Whether you realize it or not, you are an ambassador to the hot rod and kustom hobby. Is there something you would say to the younger generation to make them understand how important it is to preserve this traditional kulture?

Yeah, I’m 26 now, and all I can say is, look at how we respect and strive to preserve American History. For me, it falls in the same category. I know for a fact older cars stand out, because if you park Lamborghinis all in a row at a club or event and an older car shows up, that will catch everyone’s eye the most. I’ve seen it happen before. I think anyone younger than me reading this should know, I chose to start shooting when I was 20 and preserving this section of history has sent me all over the world and has led me into great relationships with great humans. And all of it comes around the idea of metal and rubber formed together to create a “car” that humans all agree is great. For example, I just went through a bucket list situation where I drove my friends roadster around with model: Dylan Diablita next to me as she was all dolled up for the shoot. It was one of the coolest things I will ever do in my life. You just can’t beat an old car, old music, and a simple beautiful classy woman

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What would you say to any young person who is starting their own business?

One thing to always remember is, make sure to do something that you love and have passion for. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, or shape you are. Tomorrow is not promised to us, so live everyday and do things you love to do. You have to take risks, you have to go through ups and downs. I’ve found myself emotionally moved especially on this last trip I did to Australia. I grew up in a small town, lived in a trailer, and now I’m traveling around the world and photographing and filming great people and subjects I love. It’s very humbling and surreal.  Don’t live a “script” life and do what everyone else thinks you should do.  Be outgoing and immortalize yourself with your work or your human characteristics. Believing my work spreads positive vibes, I hope you find something that does the same.

Last but certainly not least. What are your Top 10 favorite cars?

1948 Tucker
1957 Chevy (especially the kustom Miles Metcalf has)
Any Duesenberg (we have several at Dicks Classic Garage Museum)
1932 Ford (Hot Rod or stock, too many great 32’s to list)
1942 Lincoln Continental convertible.
1936 Cord 810 cabriolet
1932 Marmon 2 passenger coupe
Any pre 64 car Larry Watson painted
Lars Mapstead Desoto grille-faced roadster
1939 Ford “39 Blue” a car Cassel family and Jorel Shockley did. I drove that car from WA-TX in 3 days on a great trip

Trent Sherrill has proven himself not only to be a great photographer, but also a representative for the traditional Hot Rod and Kustom kulture. Someone who describes himself as “humble and hungry” can only do wonders to pull in any would be “converts” to the fold. Check out his work on, and keep up with what he’s doing through his socials

Trent Sherrill FaceBook

Instagram @trentsherrill

Twitter @trent_sherrill

About Jerry Horton 35 Articles
I'm not going to pretend someone is writing a bio for me. Here I am. For those who don't know, I play guitar in Papa Roach. Since before I started dreaming of being a rockstar, I was dreaming about cars. My dad made me this way. Before I was born, he had a green 1972 Camaro. He did autocross when I was too young to know what was going on, and when I got a little older, he built a VW Beetle by himself in the carport. We would go to drag races in that car, and he would take down Mustangs and Camaros, much to their astonishment and horror. He took me to Top Fuel drag races in Sonoma, local drags at Sacramento Raceway, and I loved it. I was hooked. When it came time for me to get a car, he asked me if I wanted something older that we could work on, or something newer that would be a little more reliable. I told him I'd like an older car, and he said he found a 62 Chevy Nova with a 350. I was obviously excited, and 2 days later, he told me he had reconsidered. He said it was too much power for me, and ended up getting me a 1987 Mustang. 4 cylinder. I was extremely disappointed, and didn't want to talk to him for a while, but in the end it was the right decision. I drove that thing like an idiot, and ended up getting in 5 accidents (One was my fault). Fast-forward to the year 2000, and our first major record blows up, which allows me to get my dream car. The Dodge Viper. At the time it came out, the Viper was viewed as the modern-day Cobra; a motor with wheels. It scared the crap out of me, but over the years, I was able to show it respect, and get a lot out of it. Now, here we are. I created DriveKulture initially because the guys in my band aren't car guys. I needed an outlet; a place to share my ideas and opinions about new cars, sports cars, and kustom cars (yes that's custom with a "K"). I now see DriveKulture as not only a place where my car friends and I can interact, but also as a place for education. For a long time, I had pre-conceived notions about certain cars, and couldn't understand why someone would want them. In reading articles and talking with owners, I can see that they have slightly different tastes than I do, but their passion for cars are the same. I want to expose people to different types of cars, and try and convey what makes these different kinds of cars great. Welcome to DriveKulture.

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