“That’s the image you chose for the Photo
Annual? I could have shot that with my iPhone.” That statement got me heated, but also made me think: Of course you could have, but so what? Nothing about that moment would have changed. That fraction of a second frozen in time still would have spoken to me regardless of the tool used to capture it. That’s what makes a photographer a photographer.
It’s no longer—nor has it ever really been—about the technology. The long lens, the fast frame rate or the even all the latest Lightroom tricks don’t mean you’ll capture a moment that will speak to the audience. It’s about being there, being present and recognizing that those moments are special and will tell our story as mountain bikers. No matter how mundane, or unimportant, they might seem.
As the technological barrier to entry for photography becomes nonexistent, the ability to recognize and document those moments will be what separates photographers from people with cameras. The
photographer will be fearless and uninhibited in his or her quest to document those moments, and those images will speak to people in a way that is profound and meaningful.
The photographer will be the one compelled to shoot when it’s too cold, or he or she is too tired, or perhaps even when the situation seems so uncertain that the only sense of comfort is a camera in hand. The
photographer will recognize that the goal isn’t always to show the audience what it looks like, but rather show them how it feels. And it will never be about the tool they use to accomplish that. It will always be—and always has been—about the substance of the image.
From sunbaked peaks, to dark, dank forests, the collection of photos in this year’s
Photo Annual attempts to stir up emotions that inspire us as mountain bikers. From the aspirational moments in perfect light on pristine trails, to difficult moments that make those experiences on a bike, for better or worse, unforgettable.
These are all moments—the highs and the lows—that each one of us has experienced as riders. But it is the photographer who captures these moments. From the mundane to the unforgettable, and those images—like the ones contained within the following pages—will continue to make us curious, motivated and inspired to get out and ride.