Russ Ellis likes to get to the race before anyone else.
He trains his camera on the mechanics who are fine-tuning bicycles, then the competitors arriving and warming up. During the event, he captures intimate close-ups of the road warriors speeding by, and after, he wanders, taking portraits of exhausted racers. “I like to tell a story from the event,” the 39-year-old from Leeds, England, says. “I like to take a picture and get the atmosphere, and the emotion and capture the people rather than just another person on a bike.”
Just one year after seriously concentrating on his craft, Russ is leaving his day job as an IT worker to work full time as a photographer. Already, he’s traveling to the world’s biggest races, including the Tour de France, on behalf of major magazines and bike brands. And he’s got his own trademark style, too, thanks to the custom filter he built to give his photos a more old-school, filmic look.
“The key things for me are light, emotion and movement.”