Interview | Global Photographer Paris Gore – Life behind a lens
If there was a competition for the coolest name in the MTB industry, then Paris Gore would certainly be on the podium. If you love biking you will have certainly seen some of Paris’ work as his images have been used by some of the biggest brands and events in the industry. Paris grew up in Spokane, Washington, and from very young age fell in love with mountain biking. After taking some photography courses in high school, his love of of biking and the many epic backdrops that surrounded him soon found him spending more and more time behind the lens, capturing epic images like these:
Showing a natural flair for composition from an early age, Paris enrolled on a commercial photography program at Seattle Central Community College. Paris explains “It was honestly one of the best programs in the states for learning business and the commercial aspect of photography. Pretty much right out of college I was freelancing full time and it’s been a wild ride since then traveling the world and doing something I feel so passionate about”. We caught up with Paris in New Zealand to find out more about life on the road as a photographer.
OK, let’s start with who is Paris Gore?
Great question….Sometimes I don’t even know that answer! 23 years old, Washington born and where I still call home.
That’s a proper rock star name, do you live a rock star life?
Maybe not as much as you might think, in some ways yes but most of my nights at events and races are spent on a computer until the wee hours of the morning. I live a rock start life on my computer maybe ? Haha.
How did you get into becoming a international photographer?
I pulled the trigger and went to France in 2013 for Crankworx Les Deu Alpes and to the World Cup in Andorra. From then on, it kept getting busier and started traveling like a mad man.
Is it just biking action that you shoot?
Mainly yes, I’ve been shooting bikes since about 2009. These days I do try and shoot some more alternative things like snow sports, fly fishing and trail running.
Where is your favourite location to shoot?
There’s a lot of great places around the world to shoot, but have to say nothing like your own back yard. British Colombia and Washington is definitely the best place I spend my time in.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened while shooting?
I was in New Zealand recently on a shoot and we were getting up at 3am to hike to the top of this exposed ridge. I awoke at the base camp with a fever and night sweats, thinking it might get better I pulled myself together and made the move. We had to ride up this road for a few miles, and every step felt like 1,000. Shuffling my feet up this road at 4am, dry heaving about every 100 yards thinking every step might be my last. It was every man for themselves out there to get up top before the sun broke since we were filming video as well. I ended up making it to the base where the road ends and the scree scrambling begins. Not physically able to go any further, I curled up in a ditch and slept on some rocks until the sun rose over the hill. Deciding there was no way I was getting up to the top, I rode my bike back down to the truck and went to see where the crew was shooting and managed to get a shot of them riding this ridge while a full moon was setting behind them. If I hadn’t gotten sick and turned around, that shot would have never happened.
What gear do you normally have in your bag?
Depends on the day and shoot, but generally my Nikon D4, 16mm Fisheye, 14-24mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200 2.8 and 35mm 1.4. I’ve also got a 200-400mm F4 for certain occasions, but it’s a back breaker.
What about camera bags, what bag do you carry on shoots?
I just strung a deal on the F-Stop Gear Staff Pro Team this year and have been running their bags for years. Current set us is my Loka UL for a lightweight kit or the Tilopa BC for bigger jobs. I find bags to be one of the most necessary tools out there as a photographer, and each one has a purpose.
If you had to grab just one lens, which one would it be?
The 70-200 or maybe my 35mm 1.4 as I’ve been in love with that lens lately.
What tips do you have for aspiring photographers?
I feel like it’s been said a million times but really the truth to just follow your passion and don’t let anyone tell you different. Everyone that’s done well in the industry has all started in the exact same spot, and it just takes a lot of dedication and commitment to make it. Setting goals and working backwards to figure out the right steps really helped.
What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Get Paid” – Tim Zimmerman once gave one of the most simple but most to the point lines out there. No matter what you’re shooting, wether it’s your grandma’s birthday party, cousin’s wedding, small bike event, what ever it might be, don’t do it for free. Value your work and people will value it as well.
Who’s pictures inspire you?
I look at a lot of surf photography mainly because I feel they are challenged a lot greater to produce an original image and it’s really amazing to see what those guys can come up with.
What’s the best way to get your work noticed?
Creating a name for yourself in the local community, being a good person in general goes a long way. People are more than willing to help out as long as your heads in the right place. You never know who the next person you will meet might be or if they know someone that might hire you.
People see your photos of amazing places and think you are living the dream, is it tough to find enough work?
I am living the dream for sure, wouldn’t have it any other way! I feel pretty lucky to live where I do in the PNW where a lot of the mountain bike industry is and stay pretty busy throughout the year. There’s always more I wish I could be doing, but some of those dreams will just take more time.
You must spend a lot of time on the road, is there anything you can’t live without while traveling?
Ear plugs. Otherwise Sven Martin will be yelling in your ear all night.
To check out more images from Paris, check out his website
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