Let’s get this straight: adventure shoots are not the same as photoshoots. In one you can ask the rider to ride it again and then again, and ‘oh, just once more’. You have the luxury of planning timings and playing with the light, to recon’ the locations, deliver gold and send an invoice in afterwards. In the other, you have little idea what is ahead or how much time you can afford to spend on one shot, no idea even if you’re going to reach camp before nightfall —or sometimes even if you’ll reach camp. There are no luxuries in adventure photography. You get one chance to make it work, whatever the sun or rain or snow is doing, however the rider feels, however your guts feel. There’s no going back, just instant decisions to tell the story of how, what and why the heck you are there, trying to ride a trail through the back end of nowhere, and whether you can make a living from the outcome.
So, I’m sure you agree, they are not the same. But they are both equal parts of the photography career I’m lucky enough to have carved out for myself, and each hail different glories, bless ‘em.
Looking back over the last decade —about a third of the years I’ve spent ‘adventuring’ in different corners of the world— it’s a hard ask to pull out the key images that, in just 1/1000th of a second, will define those adventures and so define my most recent decade of mountain biking. I’m driven by the idea that travel broadens the mind and that the stories I return with have the potential to do good, whether that’s by challenging popular misconceptions of a country or its people, or by just encouraging others to go learn about themselves through embracing their own adventure. Certainly looking back, a decade can seem a long time, especially in politics, geography, and technology: cameras evolve, handlebars widen, politicians come and go, previously safe destinations become no-go zones… and sometimes previously no-go zones return to being safe destinations.