A behind the scenes story on the new Profile advert.
I have a bag full of camera equipment, a tripod dangling under my backpack like an oversize chain wallet, and an obligatory hangover. After 8 miles of pedaling through sunny Central London, with the hideous schoolboy error of wearing too many jumpers, we reach our destination- Wandsworth banks.
Our objective is to shoot a wallride photo of Craig Stevens for the new Profile advert.
Test shot 1 / Fence check 1 Craig checks the sturdiness of the fence whilst disguising his secret penchant for including trees and greenery in the background.
Wallride 1 The first attempt goes well, Craig pulls the wallride (with ease) and I get the photo (without falling down the bank).
Test shot 2 One of these days, I'll put together a collection of test shots. These will mostly consist of people giving me the middle finger, which Steven's is miraculously not doing in this photo.
Wallride 2 The bank is steep. You need to go very fast to reach the wall- which by the way is the only thing which separates you (or in this case Craig) from the severe London traffic of Wandsworth roundabout.
During the shoot we had a chance encounter with James Brooks. No stranger to photos himself - having appeared in many from his days as a sponsored dirt rider.
After quickly drawing his phone from his pocket, and catching Stevens just as he mounts the wall, Brooks surprised himself with a very good rapidly-taken phone pic. Visibly and verbally chuffed, I then see the all too familiar, post-photo-taking-thumb-shuffle.
'Don't Instagram that shit!' I embarrassingly screeched, and explained that we had just rode across London, set up flashes, and were doing photos for such and such. I felt a knob saying it, but Brooks is cool, joked about Instagramming it a bit more, laughed, and kindly agreed.
Photo snatch 1. James Brook's phone pic taken in the bat of a lash. A bit of cropping, some Amaro or Mayfair and it's good for a social media spoiler way ahead of publishing date.
Photobomb 1. Brooks stylish photobomb
Bail 1. Escapes unscathed.
Tabletops & airs Some may remember the Jonathan Powell 'Icepick' photo at Wandsworth in Ride back in the day. Inspired - Craig works a few peg variations on top of the wall- then proceeds to steps things up with airs & tables out of the wallride.
We have a set of decent photos at the end of the day, but when we go for 'just one more'. On the last attempt, I hear Stevens hurtling towards the wallride at full speed, just like he had done a dozen times before. The repetitve clicks of the cassette hub is interrupted by a violent chain snapping sound.
Still looking through my viewfinder, I hear fast running footsteps mixed with the sound of metal and rubber against concrete. I look up and Stevens is 10 ft up the bank on his feet- the bike on the floor at the bottom, and the snapped chain a good 12 feet before that.
I guess you don't get sponsored by Profile for nothing.
Final advert The advert was designed by Adi Gilbert / 99 seconds.