Recently the amazing cyclocross photos of Balint Hamvas caught the eye of Bianchista. Balant’s work is presented on the website http://cyclephotos.co.uk. An extremely talented freelance photographer based in London, Balint has documented the world cup series from 2008 in an impressive and punchy fashion. It was my pleasure to pick the brains of the man, and he kindly answered some questions and let me share some of his images (Click for full size).
Hey Balint, thanks for taking the time to talk to bianchista… so how did you stumble across cross and how long have you been shooting Cyclocross?
It all started in 2008. I had been an avid cyclist since my teenage years and I followed most disciplines of cycling quite closely, but somehow cyclo-cross had always eluded me, flying under the radar somewhat. But there was this World Cup race in Tabor, fairly close to where I lived at the time, and I thought that I should head out and take a look at it. And you know what? it was love at first sight! The kind of event when you enter the room and lay eyes upon a beautiful woman at the other end of the room. You start talking to her and it turns out that she is not only a vision of beauty but also intelligent and funny. Well cyclo-cross was that lady at the end of the room for me! I think the reason I love ‘cross the most is its intensity. The luxury of stealing a second to relax just doesn’t exist in cross – take your eye off the ball and you will be punished. Not just for the riders, but also us as photographers.
Do you cycle yourself?
I started as a mountain biker, but the inevitable happened when I relocated to London – I became a roadie, starting to even shave my legs, which is always fun! I dabbled in the world of mud and sweat myself and raced ‘cross last year in the London League. I always loved racing but it’s always been just fun for me, not too competitive. I’m too tall and fat for proper racing. I just enjoy turning the pedals immensely. (I can relate to that! – bianchista)
What has been your favourite moment so far in shooting cycling?
I can get very emotional when a rider I really like wins or rides very well. I have a good relationship with a few riders and sometimes I get to catch a glimpse of how hard they work to get where they are and when all those efforts come to fruition, well, that’s always a great moment.
Balint, im always interested in what a snapper thinks are his best images. What is your favourite picture of your back catalogue and why?
It’s probably the photo below that features on the cover of my book: Its Zdenek Stybar in the second lap during the Igorre round of the World Cup in 2009. I didn’t have much time to set up the lights and I wasn’t sure they were even pointing at the right directions, but I knelt down regardless and started to shoot, and that was when Stybar ran past me. I like the photo because it perfectly demonstrates the essence of ‘cross: the mud, the intensity, the atmosphere. It’s all there to read on Styby’s face.
What event has you the most excited to shoot this season?
Koppenbergcross – I’ve never been there before. The crowds at races in Belgium never fail to create a special atmosphere, and it is said that Koppenberg is even more special than the other races. I guess I’ll see for myself soon enough!
To contact Balint or view his upcoming race schedule please click here
Balints TwitterBianchista will be reviewing Balints CX book in the next few weeks