Photographer Richard Moran argues that action shots aren’t the only way to capture the atmosphere
I have been interested in photography most of my life.
From working a wet fix tray with my Dad in the 70’s to blogging in a split second in 2012, the art of communicating through the medium of photography has been part of my life since I can remember. Technology has changed so much that if I sat down with my kids and tried to tell them that not so long ago it would take over an hour to share an image with somebody they’d look at me as if I was mad.
Most of the time I’m part of a team that has a brief, something we want to achieve and I’m directed to produce that end goal: ‘shoot it like this so we can do this with it, and then shoot it like this so we can put this on it.’ As a result my personal work is the purist form of what I do as it’s free of direction and distraction.
I’m interested in people that have a driven desire to do something, they don’t give up, they keep going until they get where they want to go. These emotions have to have a stimulating visual character and I believe cycling is one subject that ticks that box.
I know this is a much photographed subject but I’m interested in what happens on the fringes of the sport, looking at the routines and ritual people have before getting on a bike and pushing themselves to a point most of us can not reach. The race is the end goal for these guys but this happens at such pace that you don’t really get any insight to who these people are and the scarifies they make to get there. I have spent time looking at their ritualistic routines from a pre race and post race point of view and have found that behind the media trained, conditioned and committed athletes there is an insecure more human side – I think behind the scenes shots capture that.
Shooting like this brings a different quality to the shots because their guard is down, they’re preparing for the race and most of the time are unaware of my presence. I find I’m more in control, I can manipulate the backgrounds, play with the exposure, create more mood and atmosphere which gives more of an insight into why people do this. The obvious way to shoot cycling would be to capture the adrenaline-driven action but most people don’t understand what it takes to produce high quality sports images nor do they have the tools to work with. The other option is to shoot what you see, these images are all around you at a pro cycling race all you have to do is be patient, get there well before the race starts and forget the rules.