Bob first got in touch with us here at IMB while we were finishing off issue 16, by sending us some photos to see what we thought of them. We absolutely loved them and in fact one his photos made it into the Light Box feature. Once the magazine had gone live and things started to settle back to normality we were able to take the time to look at more of Bob’s work and find out a little bit more about the man behind the camera.
Name: Bob Bogdan Williams
Loves: Motocross, All Mountain MTB, Hiking, Photography, Digital Design,
Hates: “Hate is a strong word and I try to stay away from it”. 50cc scooters and people littering in my local trails.
How long have you been shooting for and how did you first get into it?
Around about two years, It all started back in 2010 when my parents bought me a little Fuji Fine Pix S5800 for Christmas to help me photograph my final Major project at Uni.
What about the post-production side of photography, when did you first start experimenting with Photoshop?
The editing side or as some people call it “raping my photographs” started due to my lack of professional camera/equipment. I wanted to compensate for the lack of quality in my photos and at the same time I have always aimed at being different in order to stand out from the crowd.
Do you prefer being out and taking photos or trying out new editing techniques?
On one hand, I love doing big, epic digital composites. The possibilities are endless, as are the hours spent editing. It’s an obsession, really.
On the other hand, I yearn for being outside, away from the computer, shooting motocross and mountain biking is something that I have always loved but there is nothing better then the kind of photography that got me started in the first place – shooting random every day joy stuff.
What’s the riding scene like where you live? How easy is it to head out and get riding shots?
The South West has it all. The riding scene is reasonably big we have a number of trails that are well maintained and looked after. In terms of accessibility the majority of them are 30 or 40 minutes ride/drive away from mine.
Do you have a favourite spot?
My favourite spot has to be Chip-Shop (Tavi Woods) up in Tavistock. This place pretty much has it all and never gets boring and the light is incredible during the summer when it comes to taking photos.
It’s not all about mtb’s for you though is it, can you tell us a bit about some of the work in motocross you’ve been up to?
Ah Motocross I get butterfly’s just thinking about it! I would like to give a massive shout to my dear friend Andy ‘rabbit’ Partidge for taking me to my first motocross race and introducing me to all the right people. Thank you Rabbit!
The motocross community is like my second family to me. I have managed to combine my MTB style and way of framing the subject into it instead of doing what all of the other MX photographers are doing and that’s just capturing the rider and completely ignoring his surroundings.
The adrenaline that I get from shooting MX is 10 times higher then MTB especially when I’m inches away from a screaming 450cc bike getting loose. Im finding hard to express myself but the word ‘love’ should sum it all up.
How do mx shoots compare to working with mtb’s?
One of them has an engine and the other one hasn’t. Haha, MX is a lot more dangerous in my eyes when it comes to shooting especially if you do what I do and that’s laying down on a corner with 15 odd bikes zooming past you. I have never really had the big fancy Soviet Union Satellite Lenses that all the other MX photogs have which makes it a lot harder to shoot. If anyone has ever shot an MX event with a prime 35mm lens they would know I’m talking about. I do love it though I like a bit of challenge it makes me think out of the box and constantly plan ahead.
Tell us a bit about your camera set up and how it’s changed since you first started taking photos?
Camera set up? I just point and shoot and hope for the best! Haha, right ok lets see, well I started back in 2010 and my first camera was a Fuji Fine Pix S5800 with which everyone found hilarious for some reason, people just wouldn’t take me seriously and I use to get a lot of funny looks and the odd “haha is this guy for real” but I didn’t care.
About a year later I ended up getting a 4th hand Olympus E500 with a bunch lenses that I bought from Cash Converters and Wants. I had my first two double spread shots published using this camera and I use to love it to bits. And last but not least my current camera that I have is a Nikon D80 for which I ended up swopping my Specialized All mountain bike and Olympus camera in order to pursue my love for photography.
I currently have one lens for it a Nikkor prime 35mm 1.8 which I got on finance and I’m still currently paying for and a single Jessops AFD flash gun that I bought from ebay for £22.00. So yeah this sums it up as you can see nothing fancy what’s so ever.
Who do you look up to as a photographer?
Dave Hill is and will always be my all time favourite photographers and Ian Hylands from pinkbike. Both of them are what photography is all about in my eyes.
Are there any riders you’d love to work with if you had the chance?
Blake Samson, Sam Pilgrim, Cedric Garcia, Claire Buchar and Brian Lopes.
Have you got any plans for this year?
Loads…. Most importantly Is find myself another job hopefully digital design/photography orientated if not just another job that can offer me more hours or a second part time job so I can move out from my parents house and start being independent again and ride and shoot as much as I can.
Is there anyone you wish to thank?
I’d you like to thank you IMB for everything that you have done so far and especially the Harribo sweets, Robin Kitchin for pretty much helping me get where I am right now and letting me do some work for him, Ian Hylands for all the help and support and constantly pushing me in the right direction, sorry for the masses of emails and messages Ian by the way, and also letting me do some work for him.
Finally a big thanks to you Bob for filling in the blanks and sharing your work with us.
If you wish to see more of Bob’s work, or wish to contact him, you can do so via his website.