Shooting World Cups professionally has been quite the fast-paced adventure. It’s a concoction of unpredictable weather, late nights, and lots of bread and cheese for the better part of the year. During a standard World Cup weekend, it’s not unheard of to bank 10k photos into the overworked hard drives. The reality about being shutter happy with high frame rates is that we rarely get to relive the drama that unfolds over those four intense days. Once photos are submitted to the teams’ Dropboxes and our recaps are up on the web, we’re usually hurried off to the next location. As you can imagine, it can be quite hectic to say the least.
I began shooting film simply because I was influenced by the stack of Transworld Skateboarding and Thrasher magazines I had collected as a young teen. We had a little neighborhood crew going and my parents let me use their old Minolta X-700 with whatever rolls of film we had hiding behind the cheese in the fridge. The local grocery store still had a one hour photo lab at the time - we would skate, shoot, and review in the same afternoon. As you'd expect, both the skating and the photos were horrible. Still, I kept trying different techniques as we looked for different ways to terrorize the neighborhood with our ratty boards.
A few years later, I added downhill mountain biking to the list of 'things my mother wished I wasn't doing'
and began documenting the local race scene before and after my own race runs. I shot in colour with Fuji Superia 800 that you'd find in a four pack at the grocery store. I eventually took a few darkroom classes in college which led to me being obsessed with the chemical process of producing photos before attending university for photography.
I’ve mostly stuck by Kodak Tri-X 400 but the occasional Portra roll makes the cut. We can go back and forth about why not colour full time but it simply comes down to I can home develop and manipulate the chemistry since I’m usually pushed by a stop or two. As for the camera of choice, as mentioned above, I started out with a Minolta X-700 and recently purchased a Fuji TX-1, basically a Hasselblad Xpan for the Japanese market. It’s a panoramic 35mm rangefinder that shoots 24x65 aspect ratio. It offers a much more cinematic feel versus the standard frame lines and allows more information to be captured per frame. The downside to this all is obviously trying to figure out camera settings on the fly and focusing on moving subjects with a rangefinder. I put roughly 35 rolls through my camera this year and the hit rate is definitely a learning curve. Not to mention how much more fragile the camera is. Unfortunately, there are days or even weekends were it didn’t leave the camera bag because of inclement weather.
I’ve been slinging along my film camera with me since my first time throwing on a photo bib. It was, and still is, regarded as my journal, documenting the in-betweens of life on the circuit. The collection photos bellow are an extension to the digital work created week after week of being on the road in 2019. If a moment is missing from the timeline, it's not because I didn't shoot, or at least didn't want to. I'd chalk it up to wanting to protect my camera from the weather or the magic of film
- i.e. it just didn't pan out for whatever reason related to the process. That's why we work with digital and play with analog, right?
Nino Schurter changing into a clean pair of stripes. His power and hunger were truly on display in Andorra after recovering from a late race miscalculation only to claw back in dramatic fashion.