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JOE BOWMAN | BEHIND THE LENS

Joe Bowman, one half of ‘Steel City Media’, the man behind the recent and ever popular ‘26 ‘aint dead’ video and also ‘This Is Peaty’… he’s got a lot on his plate. Let’s delve into Joe’s mind and take a look at what makes him tick, and how he feels about mountain bike filming…

FROM DIRT ISSUE 148  – JUNE 2014

Words by Ben Winder. Photo by Duncan Philpott

I never really had any specific motivation to become a ‘film maker’ when I first started messing around with cameras. Back in the days of making TIS (This is Sheffield) episodes we were literally just going out in the woods messing around with bikes and camera and a cheap lens, not worrying about shutter speeds and frame rates. Then I met this bloke down the pub called Steve Peat and things escalated pretty quickly…

Like most MTB filmmakers I started out documenting me and my mates having fun on bikes, so when we got home we could all sit back and laugh at what we got up to that day. I like to think that I still carry part of that ethos through into any Steel City Media work that I do today, as entertaining people and showing how ‘fun’ bikes can be is a massive part of what I want to bring to any project.

Another big inspiration for me is watching bike movies themselves; I miss the days when you’d save up each year awaiting the latest Clay Porter, Freeride Entertainment or Alex Rankin release and then watch them a million times, getting you stoked to ride bikes and pretend you’re Robbie Bourdon, building sketchy north shore and sending it to flat on a Raleigh Stonefly.

I love nothing more than whacking on the big fish eye and getting someone to send it sideways for you. I definitely enjoy shooting more whenever I use my AX1 (camcorder) purely because all you need is the camera, a willing rider (pinner) and a spare battery. I love how pans and zooms bring across a sense of raw speed that you sometimes miss with a conventional DSLR or big sensor camera.

I think in the MTB world we’re always going to have a huge mix of styles, mainly due to the influence of other Action Sports. Cycling as a whole has been growing for some time now and if this continues I think we can expect more outside money coming in, meaning bigger budgets and fancier films.

The expansion of online content has pretty much killed the DVD and full length ‘film’ market, which is a shame I think because it has more value to it if you can hold it in your hand and it’s not easily lost within a day of web updates. It’d be rad to see some more full–length films being released yearly again, especially on the downhill side of things.

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