We like our photographers here at VeloVoices – especially when they’re up and coming. Today, we speak to Dan Redrup, who is still getting established in cycling photography after a career as a film colourist. Here is some of his favourite work. (All photographs ©Dan Redrup.)
Kitty: First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. When did you first get into photography?
Dan: I first got into photography as a young boy with my little Kodak camera, taking pictures of feet, backs of heads and generally trying to understand the technology. I rediscovered it at around 18 and I started to study photography properly. I bought my first digital SLR and this led to my love affair. After many hours learning my new equipment, I started experimenting and got into street photography. I still try to capture the ‘magic of the mundane’ as i like to call it – finding beauty in everyday situations. I love it, it’s a challenge to achieve this. The journey had begun.
Kitty: How did you get into sports photography specifically?
Dan: Sports photography all started with a workshop with Mark Pain at the Mail on Sunday – it was a weekend of rugby action and it really opened my eyes to this type of photography and what could be found within this subject.
From there, I started to shoot a lot of different events in and around London – Triathlons, BMX, marathons, cricket – everything just to get the practice. I was then freelancing in my day job as a film colourist and I decided I wanted to put together a bigger and better portfolio. So my girlfriend and I went to the Giro – we travelled for three weeks around Italy in a Nissan Micra, just going wherever the race took us. It was such a fantastic experience! This is when i realised that cycling would be my muse. Capturing expressive faces is what I love and sport is ideal for this.
Kitty: What’s your favourite sport to photograph? Your favourite sportsperson?
Dan: Cycling is the obvious answer – where else do you get an opportunity to get so close to the athletes? It’s the whole package. especially in a grand tour. It’s like EastEnders or any other soap opera – stories unfold every day, you become part of the race and get really involved.
In photography terms, it lets you tell a new story in new surroundings each day. You’re not limited by a stadium or pitch restrictions, which gives you great freedom and new angles. You Just have to see them.
Kitty: How do you prepare for shooting a bike race?
Dan: Preparations for cycling photography is slightly different to many other sports. When shooting field sports such as football or rugby, you have a set list of shots you’re required to take for your client. For the majority of sports, you are herded into a separate area with 30 other photographers. So as long as you have a long lens on one body and a 70-200 on the other, you are covered for the 90 minutes of action.
Cycling photography, on the other hand, can be anything. You might want to bring in the background by changing your depth of field, you might want to use a fish-eye lens. All these options are open to you. Not to mention the pitch is 200km long and there are no restrictions! You have to be thorough in your preparation: read the race route, find some interesting landmarks but you then shoot as you wish.
Kitty: Are you a big cycling fan? How did you get into it and what’s your favourite race, cyclists?
Dan: Yes I am. Cycling has been in my life since the day I was born as my father was an avid amateur cyclist and raced regularly in events around the country.
I have early memories of standing in lay-bys at the feed station on random A roads across the south of the UK, usually dressed in my Molteni jersey. When the Tour started being shown on the TV regularly in the late 1980s. I started watching that and have been every year since. It’s just such a great event. That said, my favourite race has to be the Giro – it really got me hooked.
My favourite cyclists in the pro peloton at the moment are Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins – I am British, after all! What Wiggins did last year was just outstanding. I like Vincenzo Nibali – the ‘cut of his jib’ pleases me. He races hard and isn’t afraid to have a go, it’s very refreshing.
The other rider I like is Rigoberto Uran. He’s just one of those guys in sport you attach yourself to! I think his switch to Omega Pharma will see him in contention for some big honours next year. Nairo Quintana has certainly gained a new fan for his performances this year as well.
Kitty: What are your hopes for your future career – where do you want to get to with your photography?
Dan: Career-wise, I am aiming to keep capturing this fantastic sport. I am very early in on this path but I love it. I would really like to document a whole season for one team – taking images and notes of the whole story. I think that would be really interesting.
Kitty: So why don’t you take us through your five favourite cycling pics?
Dan: Okay. This first one is my favourite. Giacomo Nizzolo of Radioshack is leading out the sprint in stage nine of the 2012 Giro d’italia. The tongue poking out makes it for me.
This next one amuses me. I saw the soigneur waiting for his riders at the feed station. I don’t know what he was thinking about but he stood like this without moving. Goes to show that some of the best images in cycling don’t involve bikes.
I like the sunglasses in this next image. It has an otherworldly feel to it – we are all being controlled by lime green cyclists! Or am I the only one that thinks that?
I took this next image at Herne Hill Velodrome in south London. I like how the derny rider has the same stripes as the race track and the casual feel of his riding.
This final image is of the sporting director at Team UK Youth. David ‘Pov’ Povall prepares and makes his final checks on the team car before the racing starts. The reflections of the wheels and the car number just framed it all nicely for me.
Kitty: What races do you have planned for the next year?
Dan: I’ve not made solid plans yet but I really want to do the spring classics, that’s for certain. I would love to do all three grand tours, but we will have to see about that one. The Tour of Britain could be on the cards, depending on the timing.
Kitty: Well, thank you so much for talking to us. We’ll be looking for you in Belgium next March!
You can see more of Dan Redrup’s work on his website.