Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Graphic Designer, I work for Brooks England. I grew up in the West Midlands, not far from the Brooks factory…I’ve ridden bikes since I can remember.
Type of cycling you do.
Mostly road cycling… it’s what I grew up doing, I enjoy day rides or Audax events. Really I just love being out on the lanes, especially this time of year (Autumn) as the seasons are changing and the air is fresh.
Tell us about how you came to photography and design?
Design I started at University… I did a pretty broad Arts course, tried lots of things, Graphic Design appealed to my more practical nature. Photography I started whilst working in publishing, this was pre-digital… working with film cameras. For a lot of my photography, I’m visiting makers / artists or manufacturers and documenting their process, their workspace and themselves. It’s always interesting to meet people who want to create something, I like having the opportunity to tell their story. I also do some lifestyle and shoot races for work.
What is it like working with Brooks England?
For a long time Design was my job and Cycling was to a certain extent, my escape, what I did to recharge, so it’s quite strange when your hobby becomes so aligned with your job… but it’s been great, I’ve travelled a lot and met lots of inspirational people and cyclists.
Describe your passion for cycling and what is your first memory about it.
I love the connection to the outdoors, the way a bicycle enables you to see more, to explore an area and really experience the landscape. I also just love the physical sensation of being on a bike, spinning the pedals or coasting along, the moments of inertia, the weightlessness you find… it’s a lot of fun. My first memory of cycling is learning to ride, I was 3 I think, I fell off persistently.
What do you love about the cycling culture?
Generally, I’ve always found cyclists to be pretty friendly / down to earth. That’s one of the things I always liked about Audax, nobody shows up with an attitude, everybody talks to each other… I’ve had some great days on the bike doing a randonee with a bunch of people I just met.
Where would be your dream destination for cycling in the UK and why?
It’s kind of a long list…the Shropshire Hills, lanes around Bath, Brecon Beacons, the Cotswolds near Slad, but probably the Peak District is the most breathtaking for me, there is lots of different landscapes within the Peak, some feel quite alien to the UK and you can get on top of the terrain more than with the Lake District, when your up on a ridge or a plateau, the view is endless. The UK is pretty good for cycling generally, the network of lanes and B roads means you can get almost anywhere without seeing too much traffic.
Best cycling moment so far?
It’s almost not one specific moment, as this has happened lot’s of times, but that moment when your plodding along, up a climb or around a bend and then you emerge through the corner or onto the top of the hill and you find a completely different environment, that you weren’t expecting at all… I remember riding in Radnorshire (Wales), a pretty typical climb, green hills etc, then we hit the plateau at the top and it was this bizarre almost lunar landscape, jagged rocks formations breaking through the earth, mist everywhere, no trees, weird vegetation, sheep and wild horses running around…these kind of environmental shifts can happen so quickly on the bike, you get a kind of sensory overload trying to take everything in. It might be the healthiest exhilaration I've found.
‘I’m working on it’ - nothing is ever finished!
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers/designers who want to pursue it professionally?
Do a good degree… have a thorough look around at Art Schools and pick a good one. It’s not about the piece of paper at the end, it’s the time you have to learn, be inspired, meet people, develop your practice, find out what you are good at and what is important to you. Once you start getting paid, most of the freedom goes away, so having three years to do what you want, how you want to do it is valuable, you might not get that again.
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