#Raphadramatic – The Leicester Forest Road Race

At the weekend I took photographs of the Leicester Forest Cycling Club’s road race. Rather than just shoot pictures of the race itself, I asked people that were riding if they’d mind me following them for the day, the idea being that the set would have a more narrative feel and tell the story of ‘a day in the life of a bike racer’.

Fortunately, one of the riders didn’t say ‘no’ quickly enough and I arranged to go to his house on the morning of the race. Simon is diabetic and so seeing the additional preparation that he needed to do added a further dimension to the story. Si needs to keep blood sugars under control while racing at very high heart rate for almost two and a half hours. To do this he makes flapjack to his own recipe and packs it in small, bite-sized packages that will be easy to eat during the race.

Next I met with a group of clubmen who would be the race marshals later in the day. They were riding to the event and had stopped for breakfast at a café en route. At race HQ I photographed racers signing on and preparing themselves – each with their own routines and superstitions. After rider and marshal briefings, the race got underway. During the 9 laps, I moved around the circuit before positioning myself at the finish line for the last couple of circuits.

I shot the day on both digital and film (using my favourite Fujifilm Neopan, processing and scanning at home) and thought I’d decide if this material would be suitable for my final assignment in the Art of Photography module (Illustration and Narrative) once I’d seen the results. I’ve decided against it because while they do tell a story, it is simply a collection of photographs of the event. It feels like at this stage of the course we should be offering more than straight-forward documentary. This is our first real opportunity to bring some deeper conceptual ideas and personal comment on a subject.

So instead, I’m going to go with a project that I’m working on to do with the loss of sense of community in small villages. As it looks like I won’t be able to progress further on the course, I can take my time submitting this final assignment, and so can spend the winter collecting images for the set.

The versions presented below and those in the Flickr slideshow further down are heavily processed and certainly not suitable for submission in this form.

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