Cyclocross Photography: Andy Bokanev

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In his first year of shooting cyclocross, designer Andy Bokanev has jumped in at the deep end. Based in the Seattle area, he’s been documenting the ripe scene there, especially the races put on by our retailer Cascade Bicycle Studio — the MFG racing series. He also shot the first round of this year’s Rapha Super Cross. Andy may still be new to this, but that might also be his advantage. His photos offer a new perspective on the sport.

How long have you been shooting cycling and in particular cyclocross racing? 
This is my first season shooting cyclocross.

What was the first race that you shot?
The first cross race was the first MFG race of the season. It took place in Kirkland, Washington outside of Seattle. It was 85 degrees and sunny. Everyone was sweating their asses off.

Are you a full time photographer? 
Photography is a big part of what I do, the rest involves design and video production.

You have something like 13,000 Instagram followers. What is your most liked photo? Has the instagram format affected your photo taking? 
The most liked photo is of a waterfall on Kauai. Waterfalls are Instagram catnip. I think if nothing else, Instagram taught me that I have to shoot what I like, the way I like it and hopefully people will dig it.

Let’s get back to cross. You were out at the Rapha Super Cross in Seattle, Starcrossed. What stood out for you at that race? 
Starcrossed was insane. The race got faster and faster with each group of racers and it was amazing to see the skill and the speed of the pros. The setting sun that turned into dark created an awesome atmosphere and the crowd was amazing and very passionate. Also, the beer was cheap and delicious. 

In the Seattle vs. Portland debate…where do you stand in relation to their scenes? 
I love a good rivalry and it doesn’t get much better than Seattle vs. Portland. We’re pretty lucky to have so many opportunities to race in the NW region. 

What is your preferred format to shoot with? 
I like to shoot with a fixed focal length. Currently my preference is to go 50mm with my digital camera. I also use a 35mm point and shoot and some medium format here and there. 

Lets do the word association game… first few words that come to mind when you think of cross? 
 Mud, beer, beards, dudes in g-strings, Hodala, hup hup hup.

Do you have one particular race, or category that you like, or would like to shoot?
Right now, my goal is to shoot as many of the ‘cross races in the Pacific Northwest as possible. Come next year, I am planning to finagle my way into some stage and one-day races around the country. Of course, shooting cyclocross in Belgium would be amazing and I am hoping to accomplish that soon. 

Are you a bike racer yourself? 
 I’ve done some crits, track and club racing here and there. 

Any tips that you might have for photographers aspiring to shoot cross? 
Get familiar with the course and keep moving around. Get in the thick of it but don’t be in the way. Personally, I would much rather see an image from the race that relays the mood and the atmosphere rather than a snappy in focus action shot of a racer. But that’s just me.
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Make sure to view last weeks interview with Midwest based photographer Kevin Sparrow. Next week we will head back to that part of the country to see what the Chicago-land area has to offer.

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