This is the kind of photograph that motivates me to shoot. It’s rare for me to be completely satisfied with a photo without having a few things to pick out that I would have done differently or wished to have changed but in this case, I would say I am pretty happy with the results which is exactly why I chose this photo of Mykel Larrin to go along with
the first installment of TTL.
When it came time to sit down and write my first piece for this ongoing project I really wanted to talk about such a variety of things that the hardest part about getting started was narrowing down my intro topic. After a while I actually had a list of about five or so ideas consistently running through my head and that wasn’t bad considering the onslaught of ideas that I have had since this whole project started to come to fruition. I not only was reminded once again that you can’t rush when it comes to writing and to be patient because ideas will come to you on their own. With that said, welcome to the first edition of Through the Lens. –Why BMX Photography?
It is a question that comes up often enough in my everyday interactions with people and more so in my own head that I figured I must have something to say on the topic so why not. This also gives me a chance to, in a way, explain why I do what I do when it comes to photography, which is important to me. I have been riding some sort of BMX bike since as early as I can remember. I don’t necessarily have the greatest memory but the point is, BMX has been one of the most consistent parts of my life and without it I honestly wouldn’t be the same person and for that I am thankful.
I started riding for the same reasons as many of you out there reading this did and that is due largely in part to the fact that it’s one of the best feelings ever. Sure, it’s different now compared to when I was a little kid. Obviously I wasn’t riding at any kind of peak level at the age of 8 but whether or not it was me doing a bump jump off of a 2×4 in the driveway in Upstate New York just to get that feeling of “catching air” or me 360’ing a well-built dirt jump during a trail session with Cory Nastazio in Southern California it seems as though the constant theme has always been about having fun. If you were curious as to how this relates to the topic at hand it is because without BMX I wouldn’t be where I am at with my photography and without photography, I wouldn’t be where I am at with BMX. I am not giving either side more credit than the other; I am simply stating that it’s a full-on combination of the two that has brought me to where I am today.
BMX photography just has this certain element of mystery to it that always drew me in. I was the kid that stared at a picture in a magazine for what would seem like days breaking it down detail by detail and analyzing it for all it was worth. I would let my mind wander and always think to myself, “wow, how fucking amazing would it be to someday have a photo of mine in a magazine.” That was it; there was no real plan, no real list of goals in front of me that once I accomplished them it would happen. The path of a BMX photographer is a long, sometimes bumpy one that never seems to really have an end. The only thing that is different now compared to those early days of mine is that I know for a fact that it is awesome to get your own photos in print and no, it isn’t an easy road to navigate to get to that point especially for a young kid with BMX dreams living across the street from a cornfield. But with all of that said, I feel as though I have gotten so much out of BMX and that my life is so much different than it would have been without it that I couldn’t help but feel as though I owe something to the riding community.
That is why it’s hard for me to explain to the average person that asks, “you only made that much working as a photographer and editor for a magazine?” Or why it’s hard to explain to anyone that out of an entire day of upwards of twelve hours of driving around, searching for spots, dealing with security, dealing with weather, dealing with parts breaking, dealing with riders getting hurt and whatever else comes along with what we do that getting a single, useable photo makes the time invested entirely worth it. I guess these are things that people outside of BMX will never understand but you know what? Between you and I, that’s the way I prefer things to be. I never set out to be a “BMX’er” or anything like that; I just rode my bike because I loved it. I also never set out to be a BMX photographer either but look at me now. Life is a wild ride and whether or not I really made it clear as to “Why BMX Photography” is up to you but either way I hope that you have a little bit of an idea of what to expect writing wise and come back next week for the second edition of Through the Lens.
Be sure to check back next Wednesday for a detailed look at what’s inside my camera bag along with a full gear breakdown for anyone out there that is curious as to what kind of set-up I am currently shooting with and find out what things I can’t live without. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will hit you back as soon as I can.