Fighting For Photos Of The Tour De France | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Fighting For Photos Of The Tour De France

One of the first times photographer James Startt recalls seeing Lance Armstrong was during the 1992 Olympic trials as the two rounded a corner together. Startt, an avid cyclist, says he only came close to Armstrong once during the tryouts.

He wasn't as fast as Armstrong, but he made a career out of chasing him — and other legendary cyclists — every July during the Tour de France. For almost three decades, Startt has been photographing cyclists as they race by, and documenting the mood of the Tour itself.

"All of the local people come out ... and just wait for the Tour to go by," he says, "and it's a wonderful moment." He's referring to the first week of the race, when the cyclists compete on mostly flat ground in northern France. "It's become my favorite time of the Tour."

These "pastoral shots," as Startt describes them, along with raw moments along the course, are being featured in a special iPad collection by Bicycling magazine. Startt's work also gives a glimpse into how sports photographers get their shots — whether it's riding alongside in a car or, as Startt prefers, staking out a spot and waiting.

"I have to be able to run, which gets harder with the years," he says, laughing.

Startt, who has been covering the Tour since 1990, compares his photography to street art. Given the frenetic pace of the race, he says, he just grabs as much as possible, capturing raw emotions as competitors cross the finish line.

"It's very improvised and edgy and imperfect in the best sense of the word," he says. "Most of the day, they have their helmets on, their glasses on, and then, at the end of the day, that comes off and all of the emotions sort of come out."

Startt, who cycles regularly himself, says it's the constant rush through the open streets and hills of France that keeps him coming back.

The 99th Tour de France ends July 22.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

U.S. Officials Believe North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack

The recent attack on Sony Pictures' computer network that resulted in a flood of confidential data has its origins in North Korea, U.S. intelligence officials say.
NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
NPR

Rep. Sires Pushes Back Against Obama's Cuba Plans

President Obama's action to begin normalizing relations with Cuba has drawn harsh criticism from members of Congress in both parties. One of those critics is Rep. Albio Sires, who was born in Cuba.
NPR

With Sony Hack, Nation State Attacks Go From Quiet To Overt

U.S. intelligence officials claim that North Korea was centrally involved in the hack against Sony. That's major news in the world of cyberwarfare, where nation states typically make covert attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.