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What was the best time to be a pho­tog­ra­pher?

the late 1990s is when I watched it on TV and that was when I wanted to be there.

the late 1990s – when I was ac­tu­ally there.

the late 1950s was an amaz­ing time with all these phe­nom­e­nal works teams with in­cred­i­ble ma­chines, like the Guzzi V8. Then they all with­drew and it slumped for a few years

Jpg or Velvia or Ko­dachrome?

Ko­dachrome ev­ery time I love shoot­ing Velvia, for nos­tal­gia’s sake... not jpgs – RAW files. But ei­ther way, I’d still rather sit over a light-box than stare at a Mac.

Canon or Nikon? GH: PG: DM:

Nikon Canon Canon

Rainey or Sch­wantz? DM: PG: GH:

Rainey, no ques­tion Sch­wantz! It’s 50:50 Sch­wantz

Rossi or Mar­quez?

Mar­quez. Okay, okay, Rossi Rossi. I never pho­tographed Mar­quez I take it we’re talk­ing about Graziano Rossi?

Don­ing­ton or Sil­ver­stone?

I’d dig a pit and bury Sil­ver­stone Don­ing­ton over Sil­ver­stone Don­ing­ton for me

Two-stroke or four-stroke?

Four-stroke – I’ve been around a long time

Two-stroke, but I’ve never had one go past me on the straight. A four-stroke, when it comes past, goes through you

Go to Good­wood Re­vival and when there are peo­ple go­ing round on TZ250S... that’ll an­swer the ques­tion. And they sound nice. And they smell nice. And they bite yer arse too

Who had the best rac­ing style

Ge­off Duke – part of the bike, no knees out

I would say Sch­wantz again – all knees!

I would say Mar­quez, but then you’ve got Vale who’s changed his style, or even Lorenzo who’s so neat and smooth. But from a pho­tog­ra­pher’s point of view you want him side­ways and front wheel in the air

What’s the best look­ing bike you’ve pho­tographed?

easy – Sheene’s Heron Tex­aco Suzuki RG500. It was the colours – red, gold, white. Roberts speed-block Yama­has. Clas­sics Stoner’s 800 Du­cati. So small and sleek

prob­a­bly Marc Mar­quez and Mav­er­ick Vi­nales; he’s re­ally open and ap­proach­able. I wish we had the same re­la­tion­ship with rid­ers Don had – you just can’t ap­proach them.

Your li­brary is burn­ing down and you can only save one pic­ture... PG: Prob­a­bly Mamola go­ing side­ways at Goiâ­nia in Brazil in 1988. It was his first year on Pirellis on the Ca­giva and the tyres were shit so he just de­cided to go round side­ways ev­ery­where. That was the shot that made me re­alise I could take pic­tures that peo­ple no­ticed. DM: If it was an emo­tional thing I would go for Mike Hail­wood’s sec­ond race in 1957; it wasn’t a Grand Prix, it was at Scar­bor­ough. He was to­tally un­known. His fa­ther came up be­fore the race and said ‘Are you the MCN pho­tog­ra­pher? My lad’s rac­ing to­day, can you take a pic­ture of him?’ I said yes, what’s his num­ber? In the race, on a bor­rowed bike, he came past me lead­ing the race, then crashed, re-mounted and still fin­ished third. I re­mem­ber think­ing what on earth? GH: From a tech­ni­cal point of view, there’s a shot go­ing un­der the tun­nel at Motegi in Ja­pan, which makes ev­ery­thing white when it’s sunny be­hind. From a tech­ni­cal point of view I like that shot. And if it’s go­ing to be any rider, it has to be Rossi.

De­scribe your typ­i­cal race week­end... DM: For me, a typ­i­cal race week­end would be from a Thurs­day for un­of­fi­cial prac­tice. I would walk ev­ery inch of the track in the re­verse di­rec­tion, mak­ing a note of where the light was, whether it was dull un­der trees where you couldn’t shoot in low light, tech­ni­cal home­work. But it was also about spot­ting rid­ers, be­cause for most of my era there could be 80 rid­ers try­ing to qual­ify and ev­ery Grand Prix had wild­card en­tries. Of­ten it was a way of spot­ting the next Rossi, or who­ever. And pho­tog­ra­phers have al­ways been bet­ter at that than jour­nal­ists be­cause we see the rid­ers at far-flung cor­ners, we see them un­der pres­sure, we see them in the wet. Most of the journos in my day never left the press of­fice.

Then, come Fri­day and of­fi­cial prac­tice, I’d be work­ing hard. You had to shoot with two cam­eras, one black and white, one colour be­cause you couldn’t con­vert be­tween the two. And so I’d have at least four cam­eras and a du­pli­ca­tion of lenses as well, which made a hell of a heavy cam­era bag. And when the races started proper, you had 50cc, 125s, 250s, 350s, 500s, side­cars and, in one era, 750 Grand Prix bikes.

And of course be­fore dig­i­tal you couldn’t see what you’d just shot. At the TTS or Grand Prix where I had a ho­tel room, I used to get in the wardrobe, sit there for 20 min­utes un­til I could see ev­ery chink of light, then get a roll of gaffa tape and seal it all up. Then I’d take a lit­tle jar of de­vel­oper, an­other with fixer and an­other with wa­ter. And I’d set-to, in the pitch dark in the wardrobe... and more than once a maid would come in and get a fright. But that way I could dish neg­a­tives out to 10 dif­fer­ent mag­a­zines – it was the only way you could earn a liv­ing.

The job didn’t fin­ish un­til I’d flown home on Mon­day, and got the pics mounted, cap­tioned, dated, and sent out. And on the Wed­nes­day I’d fly back out and carry on. It was round the clock. PG: The most in­ter­est­ing phase was when modems were in­vented. David Goldman and I were shoot­ing on two bod­ies; black and white and colour. The black and white was for MCN, and the jour­nal­ist would fly home and get it pro­cessed at MCN’S of­fice in Ket­ter­ing, ready for print­ing on Tues­day night. So you had to split your head into ‘this is the MCN cam­era’, but also the colour stuff is what we were try­ing to sell to Mo­to­course and the glossies.

Then modems and scan­ners came along and we’d have to find a lab near as near the cir­cuit as pos­si­ble to process, say, five rolls of film from 40 or so. Then we’d sit there with the scan­ner, scan them in, then use an au­dio-cou­pled mo­dem in a ho­tel room to try and send them at 9600 baud – I re­mem­ber spend­ing all night with David in a ho­tel room in Brazil try­ing to send five pic­tures some­where, and the phone bill for that one night was $1300. GH: I’m not com­plain­ing about the hours I do now! I get to the cir­cuit on a Thurs­day and shoot por­traits and pad­dock pics, and try to find as many as rid­ers as I can. Ob­vi­ously top rid­ers are the best for clients; ideally you want in­ti­mate por­traits of rid­ers look­ing di­rectly into the lens. The teams I work for also want cer­tain pic­tures of peo­ple or bikes – and then there’s Thurs­day’s press con­fer­ence to shoot, too. On Fri­day to Sun­day, gen­er­ally I’m at the track at 7.30am and I don’t leave un­til the job is fin­ished in the evening; say, 10 at night – but once it’s done, there’s no go­ing back to it. It’s all on the web­site in­stantly. Even at lunchtime we’re send­ing pics.

We’re shoot­ing some­thing like 1500 pic­tures per day. That’s not mas­sive mo­tor­drive stuff, that’s just a cou­ple of pics of each rider on dif­fer­ent cor­ners. You edit that down to around 300 pic­tures, and they’re up on the web­site ev­ery day. More if it’s a big race. But on Mon­day you’re fin­ished – you can go home and do what you want; get your lenses re­paired.

Same jobs, 50 years apart, Mor­ley and Har­ford swap equip­ment Colour, black and white, long lens, short... Mor­ley was a man of many cam­eras Re­mem­ber that mo­ment Lorenzo jumped in the lake at Va­len­cia in 2010? You’ve got Gareth Har­ford to thank for cap­turin

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