I’ve been watching Crankworx for the better part of a decade but I never thought I’d find myself at one of these events, let alone attending as an accredited photographer. And then the Cairns leg of the tour was announced and, on a whim, I applied for a media pass. I honestly didn’t think I would be approved, outside of my home state WA I’m relatively unknown but the email came through saying I’d been accepted and suddenly this went from a dream to a reality.
Shooting in WA it’s pretty common to be one of the only female photographers at a race day. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at Crankworx but an all-female media team and multiple female photographers was more than I’d expected. The progression and visibility of women in and around mountain biking over the last few years has been really amazing to see and a real joy to be a part of.
For 5 full on days, I walked roughly 40kms, gained 1000m of elevation and took countless photos. It was hot, it was humid, there was little sleep between shooting and editing but it was the most rewarding experience of my career. It’s not very often you get to shoot some of the best in the industry or even see this level of riding in real life so I took every opportunity I had. I soaked up as much information from the pros who make a living off of photography, made as many connections as I could and just enjoyed the experience of being a part of the first of something. It didn’t matter if you were out there shooting for a brand or rider or if you were a freelancer just trying to progress your career, the media crew was its own little community of acceptance. I got to work with some of the best in my field, chat about photography, get advice and even work together to find locations and angles to shoot. Everyone was out there to get their own shot but the comradery was such a special part of the whole trip.
My gear definitely limited my ability to capture some aspects of the event, but I found the spots that worked for what I had and overall, I’m stoked on what I got. With around 100 people with media passes and people working for specific brands and athletes, making your work stand out in the sea of images is a challenge, especially as a relatively unknown freelancer. I’ve never had to compete with so many before, it made me think more about what I shot and what I put out to the world. Being a freelancer did have its advantages, I was able to pick up a paid shoot with Shingleback Offroad. This was my first job without any prior connections to the brand. The photos will be used in a few magazines in the coming months which is another first for me.
I went over to Cairns questioning myself. Was I good enough to deserve this media pass or was I just wasting my time. I’ve come back with even more love for this industry and drive to make photography more than a hobby. I’m already counting down to the next Crankworx and creating a calendar of other events I’m aiming to shoot over the next year.
Thank you to everyone who supported me and my work, from encouraging me to apply in the first place and to those who donated to my Go Fund Me to make this dream possible. I wouldn’t have made it over there without you. But most of all thank you to my incredible partner, Matt who has had my back from the very beginning and believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Photo credit Ingo Burkardt