The relationship that exists between cycling and mountains speaks on many levels. For some, it conjures memories of epic duels fought out on Grand Tours. Others may see an opportunity to test themselves; riding climbs that focus decisions down to the simple turn of a pedal. Clearly it’s an important influence for Jonny Hines. Photographer, coffee lover, (occasional) club racer and currently the subject of an exhibition hosted by Manchester’s Rapha Cycling Club.
During a live interview at the opening of his exhibition, Jonny commented, ‘In this digital age, it’s kind of unusual, but good unusual, to see actual printed photographs on the wall.’
Towering mountain landscapes are captured in images of stark beauty; subtle layers of sunlight and cloud dressing the soaring peaks. Ribbons of road draw the eye in and upward; riders caught in repose quietly convey the human effort of traversing roads and trails beyond the ordinary.
And it’s these epic backdrops, with the changing weather adding a constantly shifting narrative, that frame the riders in terms of scale and context. Speaking about his role as a guide for Rapha Travel, Jonny explained, ‘These are very personal journeys. For some it’s the sheer joy of climbing a mountain pass. For others, it can go deeper, maybe following a breakdown of a relationship or the loss of a loved one. I’ve seen grown men break down in tears as they crest a climb.’
Travelling extensively from his London base, Jonny’s work acts as a visual record of rides and races, climbs and descents. When questioned on his influences he simply states, ‘I take photos of people riding, racing and hanging out on their bikes.’ An approach that’s reflected in his relaxed, often candid, approach to his subjects.
More than simply an exhibition of stunning landscapes, these images cleverly capture the emotional journey of the participants, both amateur and professional, as they each individually battle the elements and their own perceived limits to ride beyond what they previously thought possible. Arrive at the venue by bike and I’ll guarantee you’ll ride home distracted; your head busy deciding which mountain pass you’ll next want to climb