One of a series of images by Adrian Myers, shortlisted for the AOP awards 2012
Photographer Adrian Myers gives IMSO the inside track on what it takes to capture the ‘intensity’ you see in great sports photography
Adrian Myers is one of those image-makers exploring ‘sport’ and ‘play’ at the limit – ‘extreme’ photography. It’s why clients such as Reebok, Adidas, Asics, Salomon, Snow and Rock trust him to make images that capture the ‘dynamism’ these brands trade on. A keen skier, his first cover of a ski magazine was in 1994 and his imagery reflects the energy and sense of the ‘outsider’ that skate and snowboard culture has brought to conventional sports photography.
When he’s not in the mountains taking stunning images, he is a Non-Executive Director at Image Source bridging the gap between the photographers, creatives and the senior management team ensuring that the photographer voice is heard at the highest level of the business.
Below he discusses the changing styles of Ski photography, the snowboarder who had a lucky escape, and his Association of Photographers shortlisted ‘moonscapes’.
1. A shot of a single object that expresses a powerful memory/event?
Adrian Myers: This reminds me of a trip I did with my wife from Vancouver up to the Arctic and then all the way to Mexico. We bought a car in Vancouver and reluctantly sold it to a Mexican as we rather fell in love with it but couldn’t fit it on the plane back so I kept the number plate as a souvenir! The trip took us 5 months but we had a great time, just the two of us. It was very indulgent but full of great memories.
2. An image of three books that have inspired you?
Adrian Myers: That is hard especially as I have just lent a good friend most of my photo books for two weeks. Here are some that I have just been looking at.
3. Favourite photo you have taken?
Adrian Myers: It changes constantly. These are from a personal project of light studies that I am playing around with at the moment.
4. Favourite artist/photographer/image-maker?
Adrian Myers: Whoever [Dave Bennett] took this photo of my daughter with Darcy Bussell, I just love it and it made her so happy.
But joking aside, Guy Bourdin and Jeanloup Sief. Bourdin’s colours, composition and humour are fantastic and Sieff’s work I find so tactile. One day maybe I shall get one on my wall I’m saving hard!
5. When did you start shooting Winter Sports/Adventure photography, and why?
Adrian Myers: I was given my first camera while on holiday Skiing in Andorra and it all started from there. I must have been about 10 years old and the camera was a Cosina, I’m afraid I can’t remember the model? But ever since then I have always taken ski and action photos. My first Ski cover was in about 1994 and the next few years after that it was all about getting out to the mountains and somehow making it pay for itself.
6. Skiing and snow sports have become more accessible, but increasingly plays on a sense of danger, and snowboarding has that whiff of rebellion. How has the genre of photography evolved?
Adrian Myers: Adrian Myers:Just as skiing and snowboarding has become more accessible so has photography with the advent of the digital camera styles have changed dramatically. Certainly there are more young photographers and riders able to create images as well as movies as the barrier to entry is now far lower than when film was still in existence. Skate photography has had a heavy influence on both the riders and the photographers and of course snow sports has become big business for not just the sports equipment brands but more importantly the fashion and clothing labels. I am not sure that it is correct to suggest there is a major play on the sense of danger but more on the sense of freedom and adventure.
7. What are the challenges of shooting Winter Sports? Has anyone been injured on a shoot?
Adrian Myers: There are many challenges to shooting winter sports not least the elements that can more often than not conspire against you. I try to be as safe as possible on a shoot and certainly where ski or snowboard are concerned models and photographer must have all the relevant safety equipment such as first aid kit, avalanche shovel, transsiver and probe (ropes and harnesses as well if you are on a glacier). However even having these as the bare minimum you need to know where you are going and what potential risks there are from the mountains around you. So if in doubt hire a guide or stay in the chalet!
Unfortunately yes, I once had a snowboarder knock himself out and break his nose which wasn’t great and more recently I had a very scary experience with a female snowboarder who after a days hiking and heliskiing in Italy passed out as we hiked out at the end of the day. I hadn’t been keeping an eye on her and didn’t know that she was dehydrated and suffered from low blood pressure. The combination of the two meant that her body basically shut down. Luckily we had a guide who could radio ahead for the medics but we came very close to losing her. As a consequence I now check with everyone if they have any medical conditions prior to shooting, just in case.
8. What was the most difficult image you have taken?
All shoots present different challenges so I am not sure that there is one specific one that I can pick out.
9. Your glacier shots were shortlisted for the AOP Awards. The play of light and dark is very dramatic, they feel like ‘moonscapes’, what was the thinking behind the shoot?
You hit the nail on the head! I felt that the texture and shapes had a moon like feel to them so I wanted them to feel as though they were lit by moonlight. For me there is also a sense of real beauty and hidden danger within the shapes and textures. These are the start of a wider project on Glaciers and mountain landscapes that I intend to continue later this year.
10. Tell us three things a photographer needs to know about shooting winter sports?
Be safe, be prepared and always scope out your exit route!