Saturday, 4 February 2023

Cycling News

The Mark Gunter Photo Awards: Editor’s Picks – Rouleur

Gary main

From Daryl Impey blasting up a Basque switchback, to The Tour of Britain caravan rolling through epic British moorland, to a dimly lit workshop in the war-torn Ukraine, these images show the staggering depth of photographic talent working to capture cycling in all its wonderful guises today. 

Photo credit – Naike Ereñozaga Orue (@naikefotosport)

I love the intimacy and the sense of fun in this photograph. In no other sport can you get this close to the protagonists, and crowds of fans lining the road on climbs are part of the unique colour and atmosphere of cycling. I missed that terribly during the pandemic years.

Sometimes when I look at pictures I respond quite rationally – my art history degree kicks in and I start thinking about composition, colour and all the formal aspects. In this picture, for example, there’s no foreground or background as such; it’s crowded and dense, and that’s why this picture immediately affected me more emotionally. Because of that tight framing I feel that I’m part of the crowd, and I can imagine the noise, heat, colour, adrenaline and enthusiasm – if there had been sky or landscape in the picture, that would have been lost.

I also find myself wondering what’s going on – Impey is gesturing and almost smiling, while the fans also have smiles on their faces, and I guess Impey was working the crowd as he rode up. I love the little details as well: the bright orange colours which Basque fans often wear really make this a warm image, offset by the cooler blue and white of Impey’s kit; there’s also an incongruous Breton flag in the mix – Bretons and Basques may be distant geographically, but this juxtaposition makes me think of the cultural pride each region feels. It’s a great photograph which really took me to the roadside.

  Photo credit – Gary Main (@garymainphotographer)

I’m a sucker for a British moorland landscape – I grew up tromping around Dartmoor and the purple heather, bare grassland and ever-present threat of imminent rain create an atmosphere all of their own. Scotland’s topography is a bit more dramatic, as you can see in Gary’s photo, but the muted colours and light floating through humid air are familiar to me, and very evocative.

Of course, this is a landscape picture, so I’m mostly looking at the scenery and sensing the chilly dampness, but there’s more to it than that. I love the curves of the road in the foreground, then into the middle ground on the left, and…

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