There are certain things you notice in cross if you have been around the sport for a while. While you watch the muddy and pained expressions go by as you stand in a pair of Wellingtons by the course tape or on your bootlegged Sporza DVD's, a moderately trained eye can see the difference between those who have come to play, and those who have come to be pack fodder....
The way Erwin shoulders the bike in a motion fluid, you're not sure how it got there....
The smoothness of Ryan Trebon's remounting...done so precisely, it belies his height...
The way Wellens muds....running so efficiently with arm wrapped tight around his Ridley's head tube.
It all leaves these indelible impressions on my mind. I study it obsessively.
Now freeze it all. In fact, freeze it in black and white to strip away all the unnecessary color to focus on the form, frozen in time.
This is exactly what the latest crop of photographers are giving us around our local race courses in from Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Boston all the way to East Outnowhere, US on any given Sunday.
And they get it.
There's Joe Sales....
Study his photo here at Loenhut in 06. Perfect. It's what we see but don't absorb every week at the races as its not the obvious race action...but the beautiful white noise and peripheral movement going on during it. He got it.
....and Natearm from the Pac NW,
In my (untrained) opinion, Natearm's images are glaringly the most stunning. Lots of black and white with absolutely crystalline clarity. They are almost creepy to look at....but like a car wreck, I can't turn away. I get lost in them like when you used to watch that girl across the classroom in 6th grade twirl her hair around her finger. Perfect.
Russ and Nancy Wright from the Bay Area....
Ah, my old friends. It was their photos they took of my crappy Cat 50+ races a decade ago where I saw myself as a crosser for the first time....at least it helped me see an identity I longed for so long ago when I was falling in love. They specialize in the racer as a subject of the race itself....not as a subject of nature or a pawn caught in an art school project. They capture as we are.
Local Boulder photographer who makes the art his trade, is Steve Z. I've been trading mails and blog posts with him since last year's Boulder Cup and got to meet home for the first time at the CO States this Sunday! (Great to meet you man!).
If you study it hard enough, you get it: Steve is a core biker. It's less of what Steve captures, but when. Wrap that sense of timing with a layer of dripping art that makes you say, whoa, and you get Steve.
And lest I forget, take the time to visit Denver/Boulder area photographers Mark Wollcott, Joe Strandell and Jason Rice who's pictures I post often given the frequency we see each other and commune over 'cross. These guys are the heart and soul of the local cross scene capturing every cat, at every race for months on end for us to purchase for our keepsakes.
So there you have it. I hope I have been able to expose a few more great artists who are capturing our sport for us to remember for the rest of our lives. If you explore their sites, you get into viral mode where they link to their incredibly talented friends who also use celluloid as their medium, while we use Dugasts and mud as ours.