What has been a memorable highlight so far in your journey with the Mob?
One of my most enjoyable moments was in Cairns, when four of us including Neko Mulally impulsively decided to rent kayaks at 6am and head for an island on the horizon. Little did we know that it was going to be a 4-mile rowing exercise. I didn’t mention this was the first morning of practice! Luckily all I had to do was hold a camera the rest of the day, not ride. The sipping hour occurs every evening at 6:30 and is hosted by our road manager Paul. The session is always a good time and filled with plenty of good drinks, banter and laughs with the team. Another memorable moment I had was drinking at the boss’ bar in Granada, Spain. It was the end of my first year for the Mob and Martin was mixing some great tunes and drinks in his private indoor club. Team mechanic Ben and I accepted the invite and proceeded to drink his liquor– a lot of it. In hindsight a bottle of Gin between two people is never going to end well. The next morning I found myself sleeping in the shower. Needless to say, the Ryanair flight home that morning was as bad as it sounds…
Being a photographer isn’t all kayaking and sleeping in showers. It’s an incredibly serious role and I’m proud that I am responsible for all of our team imagery and social media. I’m also the man in charge of all content for the team and athletes’ Instagram accounts. Last season I felt a lot of pressure as I had no real experience working for a team. I didn’t really know anybody on the circuit, yet I was delivering content to some of mountain biking’s best athletes. It was my debut year and I had a lot to prove. I still have got a lot to prove, and that’s what keeps me on my toes. This quote is an inspiration and reminder to always stay focused.
“I think it’s dangerous to think that you’re successful, because then you become complacent”
What is it like working with Aaron Gwin?
It was pretty crazy when I found out I’d be shooting for Aaron. I quickly told all my mates and they too were amazed as this was our sporting hero– someone who a lot of people look up to. This is probably where a lot of the pressure stemmed from. Yet that pressure is mostly self-inflicted, as Gwin is incredibly easy to work with and is always happy to do, ‘one more run.’ Of course it’s probably like three more! I live for the moments that Aaron and the rest of the team tell me, ‘that’s a sick photo.’ It makes my endless hours of hiking mountains worthwhile.
How long have you been a photographer?
Professionally three years. I started my career shooting product in a Manchester-based studio whilst attending every UK National Downhill race I could to try and get my name out there!
What gear do you use? What does your typical pack look like on a race weekend?
On a race weekend I will try and keep my pack as light as possible. Unlike many other photographers, I need to be agile and most of the time we are on the mountain for the majority of our day. Why lug around extra equipment you don’t need? In my 26L Evoc Photo-Scout I normally pack a Canon 1DX and Canon 5D3. As for lenses, it’s typically a 15mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm as well as memory cards etc. The rest of the space is filled with food and hydration.
Do you have a dream camera set up?
The one I’m running was my dream! And now I’m looking to purchase a 300mm lens in the off-season to complete my setup.
What are the hardest conditions to shoot in?
Most certainly dust, and coming from the UK I’m not used to it. It makes changing lenses a nightmare! It’s enjoyable for sure and the shots are incredible, but for working conditions and equipment it’s pretty difficult to say the least.
In your eyes, what makes the perfect picture?
A picture that captures the moment and tells a story without words. Yes, you can argue that’s what video is for, but nothing beats flicking through print and being able to relate to pictures without reading the caption.
Who has your inspiration been for capturing images?
For race photography I’m inspired by Nathan Hughes. Not only are his images great in the first place, but his post processing adds another dimension. His work always seems to be different from everyone else’s.