The majority of my work has been for either advertising or corporate clients but this year I have started to shoot editorial assignments predominantly for cycling related magazines. It’s fair to say the editorial work doesn’t offer the same rewards as advertising does but it’s a great way to get your name out there which subsequently attracts these sorts of clients. The fashion industry sees this to the extreme with photographers, assistants, stylists and hair and make up people all working for next to nothing in the hope of getting that lucrative advertising contract.
The other big advantage of doing the editorial is the freedom it offers. The briefs are less restrictive which allow the photographer more opportunities to be creative and try out new things such as a different lighting technique or ideas which wouldn’t necessarily be allowed on a more commercial shoot. The results are often much more personal and they capture the character and the personalities of the photographer.
A couple of shoots this year stand out, both for cycling publications. The first was for the much acclaimed Rouleur magazine who approached me to shoot Romain Bardet, the great young hope of French cycling. I travelled with Managing Editor Andy McGrath to Romain’s hometown in Clermont-Ferrand in the midst of winter to interview and photograph him.
It’s easy to forget how young some of these professional cyclists are, and for many they are thrust into the limelight without ever experiencing all the normal stuff teenagers go through. Romain is very smart though and understands the value of education despite having a very bright future as a cyclist. In addition to the huge demands of being a professional, Romain is also studying for a degree in marketing and takes his lecture books on stage races such as the Tour de France to help release his mind from the racing.
The shoot was a very candid affair, taking shots over a period of a day and half whilst he trained, relaxed and spoke with Andy. The freedom this sort of shoots brings is refreshing and helps to train the eye again, to search out angles, interesting plays of light, and natural moments which help tell the story of his life. For me, it’s really important to do this type of shoot as it keeps you on your toes and while allowing you to be inquisitive about photography and life.
The second editorial shoot I’m focusing on was for The Ride Journal, another beautifully crafted magazine edited and designed by Phillip and Andrew Diprose (editor of Wired Magazine fame). The shoot was to photograph the restoration and rebuild of Stephen Roche’s Battaglin bike which he rode to win the Giro D’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships in 1987.
The bike had spent many years languishing in a French farm shed and wasn’t in the best condition when Mark Haylett was asked to restore it. After a total strip down and complete restoration of the parts I joined Mark to document the bike being reassembled. However, with so much history connected to the bike I really wanted to do it justice so took it back to the studio to light it properly. Sometimes it’s the small details that make the difference so in the final shot we placed the bike on a tarmac road which we built in the studio along with French and Italian bunting – a nod to Stephen’s TDF and Giro victories. Certainly the extra effort rounded off a great shoot.