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Published: 27/10/12

Photo by Eisa Bakos

Saturday Snaps with

Robin Pearson

Who is Robin Pearson?

A BMX photographer from Fleet, Hampshire, who as a Senior Contributor at Ride UK BMX Magazine shoots and writes seemingly constantly.



Years shooting:

Since I was sixteen, so eight years now... Damn.



What got you into taking photos?

My good friend Nick Armstrong was at college and I saw his photos, mainly of BMX riding. I liked the idea so I borrowed my dad's old 1978 Chinon camera and took it down Farnborough skatepark. I really enjoyed that so learned a lot of photography technique, shot loads of film, spent all my part-time earnings on processing and new equipment, went to college and studied photography, went to art college and did photography again for a year, worked in a photo lab for two years... It's always felt completely natural for me to pursue and involve myself in photography.



First photography related memory:

That day down Farnborough skatepark in 2004 always sticks out in my mind. I was there with Nick Armstrong, Ben Pearson and Neil McGregor. It was sunny and we had a great time. I had a cheap roll of negative film, someone helped me load it into the camera, then I shot all the photos that day.



Best photography experience:

I've been thinking about this question for a while. I keep remembering more and more memorable experiences and crazy stories to tell, but I'm going to stick to one trip: Vans Let It Ride in November, 2011.


It was a ten day trip split between Tenerife and Gran Canaria, with Gary Young, Dakota Roche, Bas Keep, Ben Hennon, Tobias Wicke, Eduards Zunda and Mad Jon. There are many reasons why I've called out this trip as my favourite experience: It was amazing fun, the riding was obviously ridiculous, I was really happy with my photos and the connections I made on that trip have proven to be incredibly helpful in the last year. Plus the weather was perfect in the Canaries while it was terrible in England and I made some good friends on that trip. Basically, you couldn't ask for a better time.



Worst photography experience:

Predictably, I'm going to talk about the weather here. I remember in March and April this year I really struggled with it. As I work for Ride UK I have deadlines to stick to and when the weather doesn't allow you to take photos in time it can get a bit stressful. 


In March I went to Porto, Portugal with Luke Towey and Sam Jones from the Stereo UK team. We thought Portugal would be fine that time of the year, which was right, but we chose to be there on the only few wet days for months either side. So that was a bit unproductive. 


Then in April I was shooting a 'Step Up' article in London with Rory Duncan who rides for Proper, which was also quite stressful. On several days we arranged to meet it rained when we got to a spot... I would say that kind of scenario is my worst photography experience, it's just so frustrating.



Advice for taking a great photo:

There's obviously quite a lot that goes into it but if I had to mention just one aspect, always think about the trick you're going to photograph and where it will look best from. Then consider where the rider will be in the frame and what will be behind them. Decide all these things before setting up any lighting.


A friend and incredible photographer, Matt Williams, once said that if you disregard all the technical parts of photography and give him a frame he will make you a good image. That's always stuck with me, it celebrates the artist in the photographer.



Three favourite photographers:

Walter Pieringer, Matt Williams and Ruairi ONeill.



Photography highlight/achievement:

Every time I see my work in print I get so stoked. That feeling never gets old.



Why do you take photos?

Because I surround myself with inspiring people, places, and events. To capture those things in photographs is a pleasure.




Top five photos:

Saintes, France, 2010


This photo is from a Fleetscene roadtrip in France with my brother and a bunch of awesome friends in June 2010. We had a really great time. We went to Saintes for the Bowl To Be A Trail Jam and it was so much fun. This is Saintes, these are my boys, I love this photo.


Shot with a Bronica SQ-Ai, S-150mm lens, Fuji Neopan 400

James Reynolds - Nac


I shot an 'Informer' for Ride with James Reynolds last year and this was the first image from that article. Honestly, I'm into this one so much because I don't think I could have shot it any better. It's just beautiful! I remember it was a mixture of sunshine and clouds that day so we we waited for the sun to come out for this photo. James would come down through the jumps before this one and by the time he got here the sun would go away again. This happened a few times then finally the sun came out as he approached the jump, he went higher and did the best looking nac-nac he'd done that day, I shot it and we were stoked.


Shot with Bronica SQ-A, PS-80mm lens, Fuji Provia 400x, two Metz 45 CT-4 flashes, one Vivitar 285 flash.

Adam Aloise - Ride cover


This photo was the front cover of the 2012 Ride To Glory issue of Ride UK. The adventure leading up to shooting this photo is one of the most memorable experiences I've ever been through! It's a full pipe under a reservoir, we had to break in to the water facility, it was pitch black and very wet, there were frogs everywhere... Pretty mad. This is Adam Aloise carving up the pipe on Mike King's bike. Looking at this photo just reminds me of that experience and how much fun we had on that trip/ It was insane. Really, really good times.


Shot with Canon 7D, Samyang 8mm lens, two Metz 45 CT-4 flashes.

Perry Mussell - T.bog


Another trip with the Fleetscene back in 2010, this time to Malaga. This shot is of my good friend Perry Mussell firing out a sweet toboggan up a steep bank at a ghetto spot in a drainage ditch. When I shot this photo and showed some people and they all thought it looked too crazy to be real, like with the sunset and everything. I would offer to show them the original slide, which if anything looks even better than the scan. 


It was kind of a magical time, we had just been out of Malaga to visit the famous transitioned concrete water channel that we had seen Ruben Alcantara ride in videos as we were growing up. So basically we were all buzzing on having had a really great day, and finding this spot was the last thing we did that day. Perry was riding well, the sunset looked spectacular, I set up and shot this photo, then we went back to our massive holiday house, got drunk and dressed up in mad clothes out of the cupboard!


Shot with Bronica SQ-Ai, S-40mm lens, Fuji Velvia 100, two Metz 45 CT-4 flashes.

Phil Aller - Beach bars


This was shot quite recently on a Vans UK trip in South West England on the way to Boardmasters festival in Newquay. Phil Aller is a rad dude and we agreed it would be a cool idea to shoot a barspin photo on the beach by our hotel after a few beers. That was another really fun trip and this is just a part of it that takes my mind back there. The weather was amazing that week. It really felt like a proper British summer holiday.


Shot with Canon 7D, L 17-40mm lens, two Metz 45 CT-4 flashes.

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