Last February, Graham Watson hung up his camera, having spent four decades photographing pro cycling for the sport’s premier magazines, books, and websites. Watson’s career spanned multiple eras of the sport. One of his earliest action shots is of Eddy Merckx sprinting along the Champs-Élysées in 1977. His final professional images were of Richie Porte winning the 2017 Tour Down Under.
During his career, Watson earned a reputation for knowing exactly how to capture the most compelling action during a race. This is far easier said than done; a photographer must have intimate knowledge of each race’s parcours and participants and then convince his motorcycle driver to position him perfectly to capture the action. For 40 years, Watson seemingly managed this at every race.
Watson also created friendships and relationships with the riders he photographed. Watson’s photography is on display in his latest book, titled “40 Years of Cycling Photography,”which is available through pre-order on his website. The book includes several hundred of Watson’s images, arranged chronologically throughout his career. Flipping through Watson’s book takes the reader on a backward journey through pro cycling’s various kit styles and bike technology.
Each image includes a lengthy caption explaining either how Watson took the photo or the significance of the moment. The book includes Watson’s written commentary on his career, as well as the athletes and the sport. He discusses the many ways in which he saw pro cycling change and evolve during his 40-year stint and discusses cycling’s efforts to combat doping, reach new global markets, and capitalize on the rise of English-speaking stars.
The book also includes sections written by Cadel Evans and Sean Kelly.
One can only write so much about a photography book. We here at VeloNews prefer to let Watson’s images do the talking.