10x (ten by) is an occasional Far Ride feature where photographers we admire are invited to share ten of their favorite images. Continuing the series is Yorkshire born Ian Walton who now makes his home in Spain. After quitting his previous profession as a process engineer to enroll on a photojournalism course, Ian has gone on to shoot for POC, Chpt3 and EF Education First with his work featuring in ProCycling, Rouleur and Soigneur.
Riding his bike to appreciate the journey as much as the destination, he uses his photography to tell stories with Ian particularly interested in what’s happening at the edge of the frame or beyond. Shooting through the viewfinder, as he sees it, with both eyes open.
I've enjoyed photography ever since I picked up my Dad's film camera at the age of five and took some shots of him running fell races in Yorkshire where I grew up. And then later, when I was working as an engineer, I decided I needed to take a chance at doing something that I enjoyed rather than just continuing with what was making me financially comfortable.
I want my photography to represent more than just an image. At a bike race, for example, you might see the riders for maybe 30 seconds, but the crowd has been waiting for hours, and that’s what I often find interesting. The race is almost a sideshow to what’s actually happening.
If I'm doing a commercial shoot, then I’ll work with the creative director to understand what they want to show and whether there’s a particular narrative. But whatever I’m shooting, it's as much about how I feel as what I see. There’s an emotional element to photography that can enable the viewer to share the moment that's being depicted. The trick is to convey that and help place them where I was when I made the image.
Documenting a trip or adventure can become just a sequence of pretty pictures without the context of who or what you encounter—the discoveries and even the mishaps along the way. And I'm certainly not a traditional photographer in terms of the rule of two thirds and all the other conventions. I like to do my research but it’s important to still have the freedom to work very intuitively. Sometimes that will mean a really aggressive crop and a lot of negative space, the subject half in the frame because I like to leave the viewer open to create their own story with an infinite number of interpretations.
As for my riding, I enjoy the term unlost which was coined by me and my good mate Fred here in Barcelona nigh on a decade ago. It's not about how fast or how far, but more about escaping from the day to day aspects of your life so that you can find yourself. And I'm not necessarily talking about extreme or epic rides. You can get unlost ten minutes from your own front door.
It's more a mindset that allows you to discover something new—maybe about the roads and trails you're riding but also about yourself because you're not chasing a Strava segment or checking your phone. In a sense, you're riding without a destination, focusing on the birds in the sky, the shape of the trees, the sound of your tires as they switch from road to gravel. To me, that never gets old.
Summer shooting for POC in Sweden. Riding across and around the Island of Gotland. Early mornings and late evenings for shots, given the choice. But as I said, it was summer in Sweden. Early was early, late was late. Good, long days with a great crew. Tove here, charging on her caffeine pre-ride.
I was shooting a piece for Soigneur on Catalan Cyclocross. Looking for narratives with some local character and I’d seen this swing all day with a shot in mind. Cross is often a family affair and the tight courses offer a chance for those supporting to easily hang out together. Each time I passed I looked for a good swinger, and this time I noticed that the lady pushing the little girl was one of the racers from a women’s team I’d seen a few times before. The fact this shot was chosen by my peers to be shortlisted for the Mark Gunter/Cycling Tips Photographer of the Year award helped me feel I’d made the right choice.
I was with Team Tibco all weekend for one of their biggest races of the season as a US team on Euro soil. I had such fun with the whole team and I just love this; it's got a lot going on in a single frame.
August heat and Red Hook Crit just always worked and I was wandering around with a small prime lens and a few rolls of film. After that intimacy of midday racing in Barcelona. Good times while they lasted.
Café du Cycliste x Article One sunglasses. CdC have a particular look and I was happy to be challenged to meet what they wanted but still put a little of my stamp on it.
Juanjo Mendez, Paralympic Medalist and World Champion, on a lap or two round the Barcelona Olympic Velodrome. This guy is a champion in all senses of the word and I was on a shoot for Assos with Juanjo part of it. This was a lone moment aside and spoke volumes to me.
I think this one made the cut because I’m craving wide open spaces and escape after the last 6 months of weirdness we’ve been living through. This road was on the route from coastal Antofagasta but I wasn’t quite sure where it would take me. Dirt surprises can be nice but you don’t want too many heading into the Atacama Desert.
Once again wandering around with a few rolls waiting for a story to appear, this is as much the Tour as the yellow jersey. Norbert, PMU, Skoda hats and the ever loyal, sunburning, beer swilling fans waiting in the midday heat.
EF Training camp. Taylor had gone astray just before the coffee stop; obviously the most important part of the ride. Pacing him back, shots out of the back window need a bit of action from the rider to make them interesting. DJ Phinney controlling the beat of the car delivered, I think.
Is Esteban Chaves the most smiling dude on the pro circuit? Probably. Also a tough, tough cookie. A little insight into a pro’s room - socks on the lights! - and those scars aren’t for show. The result of a serious accident from which he recovered with support from his team.