Rider’s Lens: Matty Waudby’s Photography
In this Rider’s Lens, we’re showcasing the work of Yorkshire-based photographer Matty Waudby, who shares his motivations for capturing the idiosyncrasies of everyday life and documenting his bicycle travels around the world. Find a selection of his work here…
Words and photos by Matty Waudby (@getwildmatty)
I was a relatively late starter to photography, only investing time into it in my mid 20s. My main aim in getting started was to document trips. I’d previously done several overseas BMX trips but had never photographed them myself as there were always others with cameras. It had always bugged me that I didn’t have my own perspective of the adventures that played such a part in shaping my life. I studied illustration but always felt that it was a reflective process to be done back at the studio. In contrast, I loved the definitive nature of photography: you either get the shot you want or you don’t. No matter how much you alter the image in post processing, if you didn’t get the right angle or missed focus, then tough, you won’t be in that moment again. Photography fulfilled what I felt was missing with illustration.
I aim to capture the little idiosyncrasies that make a journey, things that I find unusual, humorous, or intriguing, and that form a story. The images that I look back on and personally feel are my strongest always feature some small part that makes me smile or laugh. They often tell a story in their own right. This probably comes from my youth, poring over BMX magazines like Dig that showed just as much of the wild lifestyle around the riding as the riding itself.
I believe photography is quite a selfish and individual pursuit as you’re capturing your view on the world. No two people observe life in the same way. You choose what to capture and what to omit. This has led me to creating my own photo books as I feel it is such a natural step after capturing images. Instagram is great for quickly looking through fantastic imagery, but the printed book will always be top dog to me. I love the layout, paper, texture, and feel of a good book just as much as the images themselves.
The bicycle is an amazing vehicle for photography, and photography is an amazing vehicle for cycling. If I’m feeling a bit tired of riding I know the drive to go out and capture images will get me out pedalling to realise what’s bouncing around in my mind. When we toured Kangaroo Island in Australia, for instance, I was a bit tired of riding gravel roads, and knew that’s mostly what we’d be riding there. However, the landscape was stunning and unlike anything I’d seen before. It led me to start a personal project called Humanless, in which I aimed to photograph nature untouched by man. I tried to be as strict as I could with what the images showed. No roads, no paths, no fences, no litter, no chemtrails and no managed land. I soon realised that it was an almost impossible task as we were travelling through national parks that, although wilder than normal countryside, are still managed and protected by humans. It was still an incredibly fun challenge, as so much of my travel photography centres around human interaction with nature. This is something that is still ongoing and will potentially lead to another book in the future.
In the future, I’d love my photography to continue to inspire me to see new parts of the world and hopefully begin to carve a living out of the profession. This is something that I have been steadily moving towards, but I’m very careful about not compromising myself and doing it on my terms. I’ve worked too many crap jobs to let this be turned into that. I’ve got a fascination with the Canary Islands at the moment and see that as the next place I’ll go. Growing up in Britain, all the boozed up teenagers would go party in islands like Tenerife and Lanzarote, so I’d always dismissed them as a destination to visit. Digging deeper, I’ve learned that the islands have such an amazing volcanic history and landscape, something I’d love to experience.
Matty’s Photography Kit
I’ve been shooting with a m43 Panasonic GX8 for quite a few years now and find it’s the perfect compromise for me. The images are great quality and the body and lenses are small and lightweight. I spend so much time trying to make my pack list as light as possible that I can’t warrant lugging around a massive DSLR and the associated lenses. I carry two Panasonic lenses: a 25mm f1.7 and a 12-60mm f3.5/5.6. The camera is also bombproof, which is great as I’m extremely rough on gear. I tend to carry my camera either in a homemade camera bag mounted like a feedbag or a bumbag. I’ve got an awesome Milican one that is designed for cameras with dividers and foam padding.
This image was shot during a stay in New Zealand. My partner Clare and I were working in an apple packing factory on the North Island and needed a weekend break, so decided to do an overnighter through the local hills. We hadn’t ridden properly for a couple of months and this overnighter reminded us why we were working such long hours to save money. I’d developed a growing interest in shape based/abstract compositions and the light on this particular road was just screaming for the chosen arrangement. Sometimes the best image is the most obvious composition. It doesn’t feature breathtaking mountains or grand vistas but I love the aesthetics with the leading lines drawing your eye through the rider and up the road towards the upper right corner of the image.
About Matty Waudby
Matty Waudby is a Yorkshire-based photographer and creator of things. He aims to create multidisciplinary imagery that documents human interaction with nature and to show that there is always more outside the front door. You can find more of his work at MattyWaudby.com or on Instagram @getwildmatty.