A Season Interrupted

2020-05-15 10:37:13

Views through the lo-fi lens of a Professional MTB World Cup Photographer at the Covid-19 crisis expose a unique angle on the reality we all face.

Words by Andy Vathis

"I think it was less than 10 days to track walk in Lousa, Portugal before we got the call that the first round of the DH cups was cancelled due to the COVID-19 spread. I can’t say I had my bags packed, or even out of storage for that matter, as I’ve always been ‘that guy’ who packs the night before. However, I was ready to get the season going and so was the rest of the race circus.

The call didn’t come as too much of a surprise considering what had been going on in the media at the time. Europe was shutting down and it was only a matter of days before the quarantine would hit North America with my home province of Quebec being quick to react. Luckily, my girlfriend and I are quarantined together and staying outside of the city.

In the beginning, I was occupying myself with home workouts and brainstorming ideas with my photog colleagues as to how we should proceed with releasing content. It was far too cold to play outside and there was still a lot of snow left in the woods. Eventually, reality set in about the uncertainty of this forced break and, of course, the steep drop in income sits front and centre while deciding the next move. We are all definitely in some weird times.

All things considered, the days have been going by smoothly even though staying positive can be a struggle from time to time. The daily routines shifted from organizing hard drives and planning short term goals to road rides when the outside temps aren’t freezing, skateboarding in the driveway, and shifting around the dirt bike.

It is certainly slower than I’d like but that is to be expected when the city is in lockdown mode and you can’t see family and friends. It does, however, give me time to work on content, finally tend to the stack of film negatives I have yet to organize from last season, and get into some good habits in preparation for some normalcy to return - whenever that will be.

The biggest hurdle of the social distancing measures is trying to stay creative. My muscle memory has me reaching for my gear bag as I look for situations to aim my lens at. The reality is, however, that there isn’t much to do right now. It’s still cold and the greenery has yet to bloom. Even if it was nice out, the local trail networks are still closed and closely policed for trespassers as a COVID precaution. The circumstances have me peeling back the layers of my regular activities down to simpler times.

Wheelies in the driveway or skating a curb? Yes, please! Same goes for my photography practice. I’ve been exploring the limitations of my iPhone’s lens as of late with the one or two apps I use for editing. It’s been my tool to document my day to day while in isolation and gives me something to look forward to, sparking a new motivation and perhaps a different perspective into my new environment. "