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Emily Maye Photography
All photography © Emily Maye
Emily Maye only began shooting cycling a little over a year ago but it’s easy to see that not only does she have a great eye for photography but also for the sport itself. On September 19th, she shot her first cyclocross race in Las Vegas — Cross Vegas. We’ll be featuring more of Emily’s work throughout the cyclocross season, both from here in the States and across the pond, in Belgium. In the meantime, we caught up with Emily to get the lowdown on her work.
What was the first race that you shot?
Stage 4 of the 2011 Tour of California. I did stages 4 through 7 and I hadn't photographed cycling before. I knew a lot about it and knew exactly what I wanted to capture. There are two photos from that day that are still among my favorites. I've had a lot of ‘firsts’ since then but I remember that day really clearly.
Cross Vegas was your first ever cyclocross race. How did you choose that one to start?
I worked with the Crank brothers team in March at the Mellow Johnny's Classic. They thought my style would be cool at a night race, so Cross Vegas was put on the calendar. I was told it was one of the hardest to shoot; not only is it dark but it’s also such a large course. It was cool to take on a new type of racing and a challenge to take photos that told a story but also felt like my style.
Let's try the word association game. What are the first words that come to mind when you think of cyclocross?
Beer. And the sound of clipping in and out and changing gears. I love those sounds.
Do you have a particular racer or category of cycling you would like to shoot?
I've enjoyed photographing Tejay van Garderen since day one. This year, I spent some time with the Bontrager Livestrong team and I really liked photographing the development side of things. But the Spring Classics blew me away and I’d say that's my favorite category, though it’s also a dream of mine to photograph the Giro d'Italia. I haven't photographed Fabian Cancellara yet and I think he would be very cool to shoot. I’m pretty intrigued by the cyclocross riders I’ve seen so far – they have a lot of personality that comes through in photographs. I look forward to seeing how that develops. Jeremy Powers was great to shoot at Cross Vegas and Lars van der Haar has an incredibly expressive face.
Do you have plans to shoot other races this season?
I'd love to shoot as many as possible. I’m going to Belgium in December for two super-packed weeks of races over Christmas and New Year and the World Championships in Louisville. Then, road-wise, I have plans to do all the Spring Classics.
Muddy and sloppy or dry and fast (that's a bike racing question)?
Muddy and sloppy, no question. Snow would be great.
From a photographer’s point of view, how does a cross race differ from the multi-day stage races you’ve shot?
They are completely different. Cyclocross is a lot more focused from the start. It is hard to catch up with riders on a road race multiple times if you aren't on a moto, and if you are in a team car you are always behind the action. In cyclocross they come to you. And they also go all-out from the start, so at every point their body communicates a lot more urgency than in a road race. Also, stage races can feel very varied depending on the terrain. But since cyclocross takes place on a closed circuit it can be difficult to make it seem varied in the shooting.
What's your preferred format?
I like to experiment with different things. I really enjoyed taking polaroids
at last year's Tour of California. Mostly I shoot digital and I love the 28mm and 50mm lenses.
Any tips for aspiring cyclocross photographers?
Don't stay in one place. Planning your route around the course is important for maximizing your chances to catch the riders. Also, think of how the photographs are going to change as the race develops. And get into it! Cheer riders on and place yourself next to energetic fans. If you detach yourself from the action, the photos will reflect that.
For more of Emily's shots from Cross Vegas, check out Field Notes: Meet Gabby Day.
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