Simon Atkinson - Photographer

We see that you're based in Melbourne. How has that influenced your work?

The biggest influence that being in Melbourne has done for my work is direct it almost solely towards cycling. Melbourne has such a rich and diverse cycling culture, with so many amazing people doing so many amazing things, that it's impossible to document it all. There's an awesome group of photographer-cyclists here, and everyone is so supportive of each other. It's a great atmosphere to work in - we all push each other, but there's no bad vibes.

I've been very fortunate to be able to meet some great people with brands, ideas, or cycling clubs, who are letting me work with them, and I'm getting the chance to go along for the ride with them as their ventures take flight. It's really exciting.

You also have an interest in cycling, how did you get into both and why are they your passion?

I think I got into cycling like a lot of people - I watched Le Tour one year, thought it looked cool, and then just started delving into the culture more and more.

I love how free riding is, how diverse it is - so many people from so many different lifestyles, connected by riding a bike. And not just connected, but passionate about it. It's great.

I've been into photography now for about a decade. Initially I was shooting a lot of concerts, but the late nights and heavy workload for no compensation other than the free ticket to a concert you can't appreciate was too much. The good thing about that line of work was it made me think on my feet, and developed an aesthetic that I've worked with for a while now. It's also very similar to shooting cycling - you have almost zero control over the subjects, the lighting, the entire scenario. You work with what you've given, and try and find a narrative from it.

Tell us about your favorite experience with shooting races and events?

Last year I went and shot the Australian Road National Championships - I didn't have a plan, a photo pass, or any expectations or idea of what I'd get. 

I got to the circuit (a 10km route climbing a moderate hill that gets repeated some 20-something times) and just proceeded to walk around the course for the entire day. Somehow I ended up leaving the start at the same time as the riders, and then getting back to the finish to get the sprint from about 400m out. I managed to see a lot of pro riders and local guys all mixing it up together, which was great. Saw a lot of mates just walking around, and got a lot of shots I'm really happy with, and from a perspective that I thought was a bit different to what's normally seen at the race.

What is your bike set-up? 

I've got a Trek Emonda. Have only had it now for a month or so, but really liking it.

How do you take your coffee?

Not a big coffee drinker, but often during a ride I'll have a soy cappuccino. Or, at the moment because it's 30c+ degrees here, a soy iced latte or something.

Walk us through a day-to-day routine

It all varies - most days start with being woken up by my girlfriend' cat pawing my face because he's hungry, though.

Some days I'll be out riding by 0530, some days sleeping in until 7. 

Weekdays I'll be heading off to work (I work in TV, which isn't as glamourous as it could be), but on a weekend I'll try and go for a ride if the weather is good.

Do you have any big projects coming up you'd like to tell us about?

At the moment, nothing serious. A lot of ideas floating about, but now it's a case of trying to figure out what will work and what won't. And then actually following through with the idea which is always the hardest part. Once I start to work on something, everything starts to flow. 

I'm trying to branch out and learn more about video, so I'm looking at what I can do to do more of that, which is exciting. Video is a lot more time consuming than photos, so planning things takes a lot more effort, but the reward at the end is worth it.

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