Saturday Snaps with
Who is Richard Baybutt?
The most non-northern sounding northerner. I’ve been riding bikes for over half my life and combined with photography it’s saved me from a ‘proper’ job ever since. It always makes me wonder when people say “Aw man that’s great – I wish I still rode bikes”. Why did you ever stop?! I’d say 95% of people I know are through bikes, so at least we’ve probably got that in common. I couldn’t quit if I wanted to.
Many, must be getting into a double decade… I should be much better by now!
What got you into taking photos?
My dad’s old Pentax ME Super. I loved the contradiction of a tough metal box producing artsy otherworldliness.
First photography related memory
Clinging onto the side of Winnats Pass waiting for the milk race to head up so I could take some awful, unusable, blurry snaps on a crazy Holga type 4 lens camera when I was about 10 or 11.
Best photography experience
Travelling all over meeting heroes and heroines and stealing their souls.
Worst photography experience:
Dropping the bosses camera on the first day of an assisting job after leaving his lightstands on the train. Somehow I got called back for more work and we still stay in touch. That was a P45 moment though.
Advice for taking a good photo:
Three favourite photographers:
Richard Avedon, Paul Bliss, David Lachapelle. Get to know.
Getting the cover of Cream BMX mag in 2010
Why do you take photos?
It saves me from wearing a suit and tie.
Probably best start with the Cream cover. This is Sam Foakes at a gymnasium somewhere in SE London. I was sent to the jam to cover it for Cream mag and also to get some shots of Sam for an interview. We waited till the jam was over and could kill the lights in the hall. I was really into messing around with crazy set-ups at that time. We put up a couple of regular flashes, some bike lights on his bike and I wandered around with some green rope lights from Brixton market. Somehow it all worked well together, the editor was stoked and stuck it on the cover.
There was also a feature in that issue on BMX photography legend Manu Sanz so a lot of people assumed it was his photo on the cover! This shot was shortlisted for the Red Bull Illume final and made it into the inaugural book.
Lac Du Tignes
Probably the most ‘standard’ landscape photo I’ve shot but it was during an epic motorbike trip where I strapped my snowboard to the side of my little Honda 250 and drove from London to the Alps for a fortnight of snow shreds. That was almost 10 years ago and I haven’t done anything as daft since so another adventure is long overdue.
The camera is a Horizon swing lens panoramic camera. It leaks light, doesn’t wind-on properly, loses focus at the edges and in this case scratched the film across the middle. It’s the only film camera I still use as there’s zero digital alternative.
Stephen Murray at Sprite Urban Games 2004 (I think)
He was landing 360 turndown flips at the time. This was a 'normal' flip and turndown. Both blew my mind.
Al at Burbage
My sister is a contemporary dancer/artist so we’ve had no end of crazy influences pass through our house. Her friend Mette from the Netherlands created some wearable pieces for Al to perform in and we needed a photo for the promotional poster.
I’ve photographed Al dancing at Burbage more than once but this was by far my favourite. It was a cold grey day and felt a minute away from snowfall, which is when the clouds are full of potential. My dad is up a rock on the right holding a flash; a true family affair.
Griz at Dev
Bowlhead at Battle Royale, Devonshire skatepark, Sheffield 2005. Griz's never go out of style!
Fast Freddie at Bolehills
A Cotic work job but combine Fred, Bolehills and a red bike and you know it’s going to be fun.
We couldn’t have asked for a better evening weather wise but I still left thinking I’d messed up and needed a re-shoot. The dioptric adjustment was set wrong on my eyepiece and I thought everything was soft but it turned out it was fine and I edited my favourite video of the year from the footage too. The boss was psyched.
No hander at Etnies Backyard jam
Bas Keep (I THINK!) at the Etnies Backyard Jam in 2005. I've never seen such an amazing set-up in Sheffield. The jam was rowdy and lasted two days over a weekend. This was last thing on the Saturday night. So good.
Cav on his bike was another good one. It’s not actually his bike its Lars Bak’s who was ironically one of the tallest riders in the peloton. Cav had just won the Worlds and this was his first race in the rainbow jersey. He wasn’t doing any photoshoots but the press officer said I might as well ask and he’d just say no, so we set up the photo outside the hotel and the journalist took a snap on his phone.
After the interview he said ‘look, I know you said no photoshoots BUT… It’s Richard who you’ve worked with loads before (we had recreated the Cream green-light shoot when he was after the green jersey in the tour), it’s all set up outside and it’ll take less than five mins AND you’ll look like this.’
He showed him the photo, Cav said yes and this was the first frame I shot. As he stood on the bike it started rolling along the wall so my editor grabbed the saddle and said very firmly that he was going to hold the bike and I’d photoshop him out. Cav is pretty valuable and it would have been crap if he’d hurt himself on my shoot. It all worked out perfectly, the whole thing took less than two minutes and it goes to show that the best photos are very rarely a solo effort.
Long jump - Entries Backyard jam 2005, Sheffield
Everyone was a media blogger - check out the press pit! Jams and comps were next-level busy with photographers at this time.