‘23 Racing Photo Exhibition

‘23 Racing is a photography exhibition showcasing the thrilling and demanding 2023 professional cycling season. This exhibition showcases a unique collection of work from internationally renowned New Zealand photographer Harry Talbot, photos from iconic races such as the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the Spring classics are on display. 

The exhibition is located at Allpress Studio in Central Auckland New Zealand. Open Monday to Friday 7am to 2pm from the 5th October to the 13th October. Understanding not everyone can attend, the exhibition is brought to you online here.

Shooting the 2023 season Harry Talbot creates stand alone images capturing emotion and building narrative, with a goal to break free of traditional sports photography and invoke feeling through his photos. This exhibition is a celebration of the beauty in cycling, from the iconic race winning moments to the breathtaking landscapes that make up cyclings stadium. An artistic take on a classical sport. 

These photographs are available for purchase here, including selected limited edition photographs, shipping worldwide and  allowing you to bring the essence of professional road cycling into your own space, and take home a unique piece of ‘23 Racing. 

Please view below as Harry writes a behind the scenes of his photographs.

Tuscany / Strade Bianche 

Strade Bianche, my favourite race. The peloton rides the white roads over the crest of one of many rolling hills making up the Tuscany countryside. One of my favourite photos from this season, a simple and clean photograph.

It was in this field my French driver lost his keys, a stressful 30 minutes, far too many vulgar words thrown around, a taxi company barely holding the line in the Italian cellular network combined with my lack of Italian and their broken English and I was running the maths on making it to the finish in time or not. Good fortune on our side I found the keys and made it, it was tight, we drove with passion as the French would say, but we did it.

Interesting fact, I took this photo in the exact same spot Julian Alaphilippe had his infamous crash the year before. It really was a spectacular spot. 

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Yellow / Tour de France

A determined Jonas Vingegaard wearing the famous Maillot Jaune as leader of the Tour de France. I took this on the summit of Puy de Dome, the finishing climb on stage nine of this years race. It is perhaps one of the strangest days of racing I’ve experienced, due to the mountain being a UNESCO World Heritage site fans were excluded from the last six kilome- tres of the stage, it made for an eerie feel, it made me realise how much I use the sound of the race, the fans in particular to gauge when the riders will be upon me, when it’s time to shoot. Without them the stage felt empty, like I was shooting a club race, not the Tour de France.

I wrote this on Instagram and funnily enough that evening was quoted in several newspa- pers as a direct Juxtaposition to Christian Prudhomme the race director describing the stage as an undeniable success.

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Rainbow / World Championships 

Assuming you’re a cycling fan, if you haven’t watched the World Championships road race from, I’d recommend 90 kilometres to go, then you really must, some of the best racing I’ve seen this 2023 season. Perhaps you’re just here for the coffee, that’s okay too. Mathieu Van der Poel as he so often does delivered a masterclass in bike racing, riding away solo, despite crashing, breaking his shoe and losing momentum to win his first Rainbow jersey on the road.

I somehow stumbled upon a photo like this in Tirreno Adriatico earlier in the season, with a perfectly overcast sky and a reflection, isolating the rider against the sky you can create an almost studio looking photo from the middle of a bike race. Taken over the crest of Montrose Street on the Glasgow circuit with one lap left to race, you can see the boa dial barely left on the shoe after the crash two corners earlier. A classy rider, an even classier win.

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Poggio / Milan San Remo

Looking down to the lower slopes of the Poggio descent as Wout van Aert tries to distance Filippo Ganna and Tadej Pogacar, the three riders chasing Mathieu Van der Poel. The gap between the four riders wasn’t big by this point, less than ten seconds, I didn’t know who would win, I hoped for Van der Poel, but at the same time, It had been the showdown I want- ed to see, that was enough.

I had low expectations coming into Milan San Remo, my friends had warned me of the long day and potentially boring finale, it was anything but, despite six an a half hours of racing, six being dreadfully stock standard, I enjoyed the day, I liked the photos.

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Poppies / Baloise Belgium Tour

The holy grail amongst the photographers is a helicopter shot, it’s not often it happens, always flying in what we deem the wrong place, too far away, seconds too early or late. I got lucky with this one, big in frame, shooting low across a field of poppies as Casper Pedersen and Mathieu Van der Poel attacked bridging the gap to the days breakaway.

Every year at the Tour de France we have our hopes high for the best Sunflower field, what we call a double field, close to the road, sunflowers on both sides facing the same direction, backlight by the sun, it never delivers and I’m always left disappointed, I think I would take a poppy field like this any time over the sunflowers.

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Jumbo / Tour de France

I remember after the 2022 Tour de France I was annoyed for not shooting this photo, thank- fully I only had to wait a year and it delivered better than expected. To have a clean photo of Jonas Vingegaard, the Tour de France winner and his loyal lieutenant Nathan Van Hooydonck against the arch of the Arc de Triomphe, luck you could say.

The finish line is a good 15 minutes walk from here, each year we wave down the broom wagon and catch a lift to the line with a handful of laps remaining, the thrill hasn’t worn off yet, riding the Tour de France broom wagon down the Champs Élysées.

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Scully / E3 Saxo Classic

Tom Scully, one of two Kiwis from Invercargill racing on the World Tour. I shot this shortly after he crossed the finish line at E3 Saxo Classic, the last rider to cross the line in 101st 11.58 down. I like these races, the really hard ones in awful weather, Belgium mud and rough cob- bles, it’s never a pleasant day, it’s cold, it’s wet, the camera is filthy but I always am a little glad to be shooting opposed to racing.

Sometimes shooting the faces of the riders once the race is done feels a little like these men have gone to war, mud scattered across them, bloodshot eyes and often torn clothing. Thankfully a hotel room awaits them within the hour.

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MVDP Poggio / Milan San Remo

The way the route of Milan San Remo lies it’s impossible to shoot both the Poggio climb
at five kilometres to go and the finish line, my friends, colleagues and I have spent many evenings pouring over various maps, considering alternative motorbike accessible back alleys but it’s really not possible. Heeding the advice of my dear friend Chris Auld I left my colleagues at the top of Poggio and despite various protests from the Italian Carabinieri I began the run down the descent, there was a corner Chris had said, with a clean shot, a reverse as the rider exits and one overlooking the city. Seven hundred metres and several arguments fought I made it, the police, despite our accreditations and experience are not fond of photographers. I remember the Joy as Mathieu Van der Poel came into my viewfinder first, he was on his way to win the first monument of the year.

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Fast / Tour de France

Jonas Vingegaard riding the stage 16 Tour de France time trial is perhaps one of the most dominant rides of not just this 2023 season but perhaps of recent years, post Armstrong era you could say. The riders come one by one separated by two minute start times. Truth be told I didn’t enjoy this day, it was long, hot, awfully lacking in nice photo opportunities, and aside from a handful of riders it’s only the last twenty you really need photographs off.

Looking back, I like the photos I did take, therefore my memory has it marked as a good day, despite the various challenges of covering the Tour de France, the success of any day is measured in good or bad and based on the photos I leave the day with.

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From the Shed / Baloise Belgium Tour

I like the way this photo happened, it’s not something you can plan for. Shot on stage four of the Baloise Belgium Tour in June, the sprinters preparation race for the Tour de France in July.

The race did two laps past this old farmyard. Passing on the first lap I noticed the metal door ajar on the old farm building, wondering what it would look like from inside I dropped a pin on my gpx file of the route, you should see the pins I have dropped across Europe from var- ious potential photo spots for a bike race. On the second lap I stopped my moto driver here, climbing inside over farmyard junk and looking back towards the road I knew it could be a shot. I like the way it’s framed within a frame, that’s how my mother describes it. I remember at the time not being overly stoked with it, editing the photo in the evening it grew on me, so much so it’s here.

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Forest / Tirreno Adriatico

Stage three at the Italian one week stage race Tirreno Adriatico, the Peloton featuring Mark Cavendish in his British national championships jersey rolls through the dying forest on the Passo del Lume Spento climb. Oh how I wish he won at the Tour, thankfully, he’ll be back next year…

Tirreno Adriatico was an interesting race, I realised not every Italian coastline is made equal, it felt as though the majority of them were washed up, run down towns clinging onto a tour- ism peak in the eighties. You don’t see it on the postcards, I like that sometimes the racing takes me well off the beaten track.

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Pidcock / Strade Bianche

If I can recommend anywhere in Italy it would be Siena, the way the light hits the city, or- ange hues creeping between deep dark shadows and spiralling streets crawling their way to the Piazza del Campo. After a stunning solo exhibition on the white roads of Tuscany British rider Tom Pidcock rode into the square alone to take the victory at Strade Bianche.

I knew this was the photo I wanted, before arriving in Italy even. After a long one sided negotiation I paid a local bar owner 50 euro to shoot from the balcony above the bar, in all fairness he brought me a beer, the most expensive beer I’ve paid for thus far.

Funnily enough this photo hangs on the walls of the Team Ineos Service Course in Belgium.

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Koppenberg / Ronde van Vlaanderen 

This photo almost never happened. Taken on the famous yet brutal Koppenberg during the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the moment Tadej Pogacar launched an attack, Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout van Aert fighting behind to stay on the wheel. If you’ve ever been to Belgium during the Spring Classics season you’ll know the part these races play in their culture, weekends of bike racing and beer drinking.

Back to why the photo almost didn’t happen, shooting earlier on the Kwaremont Russ, Zac and I came back to our park to discover the Van had been towed, despite having press stickers and all the required accreditations to park where we had. Thankfully with an AirTag in my camera bag we hiked four kilometres and after a frustrating argument with a towing company we paid several hundred Euros for it’s return… missing two photo opportunities we made it to the Koppenberg and Finish, an extremely unnecessary stressful day.

Speaking with Mads Pedersen after his podium place he kindly offered to pay for the towing charge, we’re still waiting on him.

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Art of MVDP / Tour de France

With just one category two climb left to go on Stage 12 of the Tour de France Mathieu Van der Poel was in the lead solo, after what had seemed like an unusually quiet race from the Dutch superstar I was excited for what could be a box office finish, finding this small village on google earth and it being the last place my friends and colleagues Russ, Joris and I could shoot before cutting off course to the finish we stopped and began the search to find a shot.

We stumbled across a local French Artist by the name Allain Renoux (Look him up, great painter) in the midst of hosting a lunchtime party with his friends and family, invited in we had red wine and cheese. I shot from in the artist’s house, as Van der Poel flew past the party guests adorned in the iconic polka dots cheered. He didn’t win the stage, but I remem- bered the ride. The photo went viral on twitter too.

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Pink / Giro d’Italia

Geriant Thomas rides through the roaring crowds in the Maglia Rosa on Monte Lussari, ultimately falling short to win the Giro d’Italia. Crouching on the edge of the crowd, a police officer’s legs in front, cheering hands constantly falling in-front of my lens, loose flags, and pushing bodies, it’s really hard shooting in crowds like these, a clean shot becomes all the more difficult.

I stood with Slovenian fans, their desperation for Primoz Roglic to win evident, after little persuassion I shared the homemade vodka they had brought to the mountain top, as news of Roglics slipped chain filtered through the crowd a blanket of dissapointment came with it, heartbreak for a nation, twice in no less than three years. As Thomas rode through the crowd, the last rider to come, they cheered like he was their own, and they started their timers. Once evident Roglic had won the party began, I couldn’t help but join in, they gave me little choice, it was electric and one of the happiest days I’ve had shooting a bike race. My van died that evening, it’s still somewhere in Italy.

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Paris / Tour de France

Stage 21 of le Tour de France. Always my favourite, it feels like the last day of school. I love the Arc de Triomphe, I wanted a photo showing both the detail in the monument and the size of it compared to the peloton. I have always said the riders could do a hundred laps around the icon and I would be happy to shoot it every time.

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Coastline / Milan San Remo 2023

The peloton weaving down the iconic coastline of Milan San Remo, the longest one day World Tour race on the calendar, 294km the distance of the 2023 edition. I knew going into this race I wanted two photos, one being the race winner, the second being this photo, a landscape of the beautiful coastline.

The first challenge is finding a place to park the car, there’s few parking spaces along the coastline road and often they’re full with the camper-vans of fans arriving the night before. Once parked, we climb the cliff, it’s a steep goats trail, standing on a lean holding flimsy tree branches in one hand and a camera in the other. As the peloton passes we shoot, then scrambling down and running to the car, we exit the race course, heading for the motorway begining the race to the poggio, the final climb, doing our best to avoid an Italian speeding ticket yet arrive before an overly enthusiastic Carabinieri tells you the road onto it is closed.

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Col de la Loze / Tour de France - Limited Edition of 10

Often my friends and I discuss what would make the perfect cycling race photo. We agree it needs the right riders, a superstar on their way to win, the light must be nice, it needs to be technically perfect yet creative and alternative at the same time. It’s something we all agree is unattainable. But I always imagine it would be in the mountains if it were to exist.

I shot this on stage 17 of le Tour de France, the groupetto begins the descent of the Col de la Loze in the Alps, stage winner Felix Gall having already crossed the line almost a half hour earlier. Years ago, when I spent my days looking over photos from Graham Watson, Jered and Ashley Gruber from half a world away I would dream of one day being there, taking my own photos of the peloton lined out, mountains in the background. A beautiful landscape filled with an exhausted peloton, perhaps sports most beautiful stadium. This one means a lot to me, I want it on walls.

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Remco / World Championships- Limited Edition of 10

I’ve always liked the way black and white has the ability to make a photo timeless, colours continually go in and out of fashion, represent different emotional reactions and are embed- ded in cultures so dramatically across the world, black and white removes these aspects, occasionally leaving a photo empty, but at times, instead cementing it in its place forever.

Remco Evenepoels Time Trial World Championships win was special, on a course not suited to him and bouncing back from an underwhelming defence of his World title on the road a handful of days earlier he stormed to victory. Completing the 47.8km course in 55.19 minutes, averaging 51.8kmh. I wanted a photo that will last, different to the others, a timeless piece, something memorable to stand beside the monumental ride.

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Holy Roubaix / Paris Roubaix - Limited Edition of 10

Paris Roubaix is the most spectacular one day race in the world. Winning in the holy Roubaix Velodrome marks a riders place in history for the ages, it’s not without its challenges obvi- ously, crashes, cobbles, mechanicals, punctures, and rogue fans all making for a notoriously difficult race to finish let alone win. It always seemed to be between greats Wout van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel, the latter riding into the Velodrome a lap ahead to take a stunning win, while teammate Jasper Phillipsen celebrated behind before beating van Aert to the second step of the podium.

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Thank you for viewing. 

Please note all prints are 310gsm fine art cotton rag paper and available for purchase and shipping Worldwide. Visit Harrys Print Shop here.

This exhibition would not have been possible without these generous sponsors, Allpress Esspresso, Queensberry, Behemoth Brewing.

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