Monday, 1 April 2013

foto velodrome Exhibition at Manchester Velodrome

I get to meet and work with some great people in my day job aswell as get presented with some great opportunities in my day job as head of Brother UK Ltd.  One of those recent ones was the opportunity to sponsor a brand new exhibition of cycling photography at the National Cycling Centre.  

As a business that has been in Manchester since 1968 and a big contributor to the regional economy, it made perfect sense for me to support this initiative as many of the images on display have been printed on our A3 printers.

I know how important the velodrome is to cyclists across the country and this great sport needs to have it's best talent showcased, so we've backed it so that the thousands of people that visit the National Cycling Centre can appreciate all that is great not just about the building, but the experiences that get created within it.  I've asked the person behind the exhibition, Chris Keller-Jackson, to tell us a bit more about it.  Chris has supplied a few of the images from the exhibition, to feature in the post.

Guest Post by Chris Keller-Jackson of Crank Photo

There is so much to the amazing sport of cycling, so many disciplines, so many bikes and so many ways to enjoy the sport. Some people tinker with bikes, some people ride bikes, some people race bikes and some do other things, like work within the industry.
I happen to be in a very privileged position, (and I know that), I work within the industry as a Journalist and Photographer. I live and work in the North West of England, and work both on the 'Business to Business' side of cycling, (the makers, developers and sellers of bikes and components) and the consumer side of cycling (events, magazines and online content).

As a photographer I specialise in action sports, and if you have watched any of the Revolution Series Track Racing on Television,you'll have seen me, as I'm stood on the 'cote d'azure' (the dark blue bit on the track) often within feet of the riders as they hurtle past. I wear a distinctive black and orange pit shirt so I stick out like a sore thumb.

What's it like on the track ? Firstly, if you have never been on the boards then I'd suggest you give it a go, Manchester, Newport and Glasgow all offer taster sessions, then you'll get more of an idea. As a spectator on TV or sat in the seats you don't see and hear what I get to hear. 

There is danger and noise all around, with the click – clack of a tight chain over the fixed rear sprocket, the rumble of the boards moving around under the riders and the rush of air, so close to the action. Noise also comes directly from the riders, shouting, controlling the pack with instructions and the occasional scream as riders get too close and sometimes touch.

The worst noise on the track is the echoing bang and scrape of a fallen rider, the noise is tremendous, especially if it is close to you. This is often when riders hook bars or wheels touch, resulting in involuntary braking using skin friction and lycra clothing. Whatever, it burns.

Track riding is serene and pure, no gears, no brakes, no freewheels. Track racing is that too,but it is also brutal, unforgiving and very dangerous.

Being on the track is fascinating, you get to see the camaraderie of the riders, the skill and the hard work. Long events such as the Madison and 80 lap Points and Scratch races show just how much effort goes into competing at national and international level. It is also fascinating watching riders progress up the ranks, through youth and junior up to ODP and Track Stardom. Watch out for Emily Kay and Matt Rotherham is all I'll say.

In 2011 I had an exhibition based on Track Cycling photography, it was 'small' and went well, making its way from humble beginnings in Gatley, ending up in London, just off Carnaby Street. That was the pinnacle. Late last year however, I was contacted by the National Cycling Centre, and commissioned to create a new Gallery at the Velodrome. It's proved to be a trial, developing over 60 images, all based at Manchester, even more as I'm rather exacting in self editing. I'm thankful for the support of my family, friends and the sponsorship of Brother UK.
As I write this, the launch of the gallery is less than two weeks away. Everything is set (well, almost), the images are in place and all the preparation I can do is done. Much of the last minute activity is in the hands of others, PR, Catering and the venue organisation.

If you are reading this before Thursday 11th April, why not come along to the launch event, and have a chance to mingle with Track Cycling stars. The event starts at 7.30 and admission is free.

You can follow me on Twitter @crankphoto or contact me directly at “”, where you can also see a selection of images in the gallery. Search fotovelodrome to find my wordpess blog.

foto velo drome begins 11.04.13 and runs for a year, the gallery is located on the Spectator Concourse of Manchester Velodrome, Stuart St Manchester M11 4DQ.

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