Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m a 35 year old professional photographer based in Bristol in the UK. I studied Documentary Photography at University and after a brief stint at my local newspaper; I spent eight years covering news and sport for the British national newspapers at Wales News Service – Wales’ premier news and photo agency. I decided to go freelance back in 2011 and concentrate on mountain bike photography, which had been on the back burner whilst working as a full time press photographer. I now spend a large proportion of my time out in the great outdoors shooting features for mountain bike magazines.
What made you switch from covering news and sports for the national newspapers to freelance photography with an emphasis on mountain biking?
I have been riding mountain bikes for over 20 years now and always took photos of it in my spare time. I wanted to go freelance and concentrate on a subject I really enjoyed. The mountain biking allows me to combine a number of things I love to do – riding bikes, taking photographs and traveling. I still keep my hand in with the press work, and am always ready to go at the drop of a hat if a newspaper calls or a good story comes up – so long as I’m not on my bike or a pair of skis!
What is the most challenging shoot you have been on?
A lot of the shoots I go on now are pretty challenging – not least because I have to ride my bike over the same terrain as the riders I am photographing whilst carrying all my gear on my back! No one shoot sticks out in my mind but I can quite often be found clambering up trees or scrabbling near very high cliffs in order to get the angle I want. The weather in these sometimes remote environments plays a massive part and more often than not has to be put up with.
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
I’d have to say the Alps are my favourite place to shoot. Not only are they stunning and awe-inspiring, but there is infinity variety of terrain and backgrounds everywhere you go. I have shot in many more exotic locations but the Alps are somewhere I go back to numerous times a year. This might just be down to their proximity to the UK but they are hard to beat for views.
Where do you see yourself as a photographer in 10 years?
I’d like to think that I will be doing similar shoots to the ones I do at present (hopefully more frequently!). I’d like to travel further afield and shoot in places people haven’t ridden before. I still feel I have a great deal to learn as a photographer and I definitely need to improve both technically and creatively as in my opinion I have started to become quite ‘workmanlike’ in my approach of late!
If you were not a photographer what would you be doing for work?
That’s a tough one as that’s pretty much all I have done since leaving school in 1997 and I have no training in anything else! To be honest I’d be happy so long as I was working outside in the countryside and not tied to a desk in an office. That or I’d be a full time bike/ski bum doing odd jobs just to be able to ride!
What advice can you give an aspiring photographer?
Shoot things that take you out of your comfort zone – at university my tutors would not allow me to shoot mountain biking. Be prepared to have to work for free, but at the same time never undervalue your own work, a difficult balance I know – there are a lot of amazing photographers out there giving their work away.
Why and when did you become a photographer?
I started taking photographs seriously after failing my A-Levels at secondary school and really not knowing in which direction to go in. Up until then I had not even thought of photography as a career and only started as it seemed like something I would be interested in as opposed to traditional academic subjects at college.
Why did you choose CMD for your websites?
The templates are simple to use and look great. As a photographer I need a website that is all about the images and CMD allows it to be just that. Being not particularly technically gifted with computers I love how easy it is upload content and customise.