With a background in art, fashion and design, photography is a way of expressing my visions. Cycling has been a part me since I was a baby watching my uncle race. My bike was my freedom living in a small country village.
I hope to portray the passion, sheer dedication and beauty of Irish Cycling through my photography.
Life can sometimes change focus in a big way from seemingly small events. My current preoccupation with expressing the passion and beauty of cycling through the camera is an example. This phase of my life began only three years ago when I bought my first decent camera. I had no plan to be a photographer, no expectation of the journey that camera would bring me on.
However, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised as I now realise it’s an expression of who I am, and some of that goes back a really long way.
It goes back to some of my earliest memories as a child in the house of my uncle Mick, in what was then a very rural and very parochial part of Co. Cork. He was a local cycling hero and ran a part-time bike business from the house. I spent childhood summers there with Mick and aunt Mary, and I loved it. I helped Mary in the house and Mick in the workshop. I got grease under my fingernails and loved listening to the gossip with customers and yarns about racing.
We supported Mick at races and the spectacle was thrilling: flashing lights, the psychedelic bunch of superhero-like figures swooshing past in a flash, clapping and screams, and friendly beeps and waves from the cavalcade. It was the start of a life-long passion.
My bike became my freedom as I grew up in rural Ireland. I cycled everywhere. Shopping for my grandmother meant a chance to ride her single speed Raleigh, which I still own. I cycled to school and beating the school bus home brought a great sense of achievement! It was hay-day of Irish cycling with Kelly and Roche amongst the best of world – the boys would be sprinting up and down the village in the evenings, trying to emulate their heroes. I was even guilty of it myself!
I bought a proper camera just under 3 years ago, to capture what I see at races. Standing on top of a bitterly cold and sleety hill at a local March race in Co. Cork, in spite of the conditions, I became absorbed in the process – I could ‘see’ things differently through the viewfinder.
When I got home and started browsing through my work, I realised that something new had happened. I had discovered a way to express what I loved. Even though I had studied Art, Fashion and Design, I hadn’t planned for my artistic side to came out through the lens. The camera brought together my aesthetic and sporting instincts and a spark was lit.
There is no doubt that my artistic approach is heavily influenced by that early immersion in Irish cycling. As a sport, cycling has very deep cultural and sporting roots and I was planted firmly in these through my childhood experiences.
I get great satisfaction from people liking my work. I want to keep developing artistically and to continue to express my particular interpretation of the passion and beauty of cycling. I want to bring what I see and feel to people who are not there.
It’s been a roller-coaster three-year journey from an artistic point of view – who knows where the road will lead.