Pictorial: The World of Paris Gore

The World of Paris Gore

Full name: Daniel Paris Gore
Nickname: Gorepedo, Pari
Birthdate: May 6, 1992
Birthplace: Spokane, WA
Current residence: Bellingham, WA

KC Deane and Geoff Gulevich explore an incredibly scenic landscape in Iceland, September 2016.

MBA: Where did you grow up?

Paris: I grew up in Spokane, Washington; moved to Virginia for a year (my family is from the south), and then we moved back a year later when I was 4 and spent the rest of my childhood in Spokane. It was an awesome place to grow up, especially for getting into bikes. The scene was just starting to take off with freeriding, and the amount of terrain we had to go build and find features was endless.

Darren Berrecloth drops in for one of his late-afternoon practice runs prior to the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah, October 2017.

MBA: How and when did you get interested in mountain biking?

Paris: From a young age, like many, I was always really into bikes. I had a Raleigh hardtail when I was 10/11 or something and just started jumping it off everything I could find—eventually to a point I think the bike shouldn’t have been able to withstand. I eventually entered a DH race at our local spot, Beacon Hill, when I was 12, with this rim-brake hardtail Raleigh. I was riding around the pits, and the dudes from Kona were like, man, just take one of these Kona Stinky’s for your weekend to race on. I was super hooked from that point and eventually started saving everything I could get my hands on at the age of 13, which wasn’t much, to be able to afford a bike. My parents helped me out with half the price on a Specialized Big Hit, and I had to come up with the other $600, which was a ton of money for a 13-year-old. I ended up working my butt off all summer, and when winter came I started selling hot chocolate on the side of the road midwinter (sorta like the lemonade-stand model, but people felt way worse for me sitting out in the cold, and I made a killing with sympathy bucks). By that spring, I’d earned enough to cash in on a dope bike, and, man, that was the best time of my life riding that thing around.

MBA: When did you start shooting mountain bike photos?

Jill Kintner takes a fast line through the forest near her home in Bellingham, Washington. 

Paris: I had also always been into cameras to some degree, and freshman year of high school I was able to get into the photography class and got super into it. I had so much fun just going around campus snapping photos, mainly because I didn’t have to be in a classroom I think [laughs]. I ended up shooting for the yearbook and photographed all the sports events and stuff like that. It actually took a couple of years (2008) before my buddy Skye and I were like, “Dude, let’s take that expensive camera from your school and go shoot some bike photos with it.” Skye was a super good rider, and we decided to go skip school on a wintry day to go shoot photos of him riding off some big features while the snow was falling. It was the most fun I’d ever had, and we got some amazing shots out of it actually. I couldn’t believe it, though it seems super cliche and people say it all the time, but I really did truly find my calling that day. I just knew it was something I wanted to keep doing forever. Being a rider myself, I also realized I wasn’t cut out to be a pro, and being the photographer was literally the next best thing to that (and maybe even better).

Josh Dirksen and Adam Craig pause to take in the scenery on the Whole Enchilada Trail in Moab, April 2017.

MBA: How did you get your first mountain bike photos published?

Paris: So, after getting really into shooting biking in my last years of high school, I was getting super into photography, and the idea of college was pretty daunting. I hated academics, and the teachers knew that; they were super cool with me wanting to pursue photography, which was awesome. They cut me a lot of slack to go shoot photos for the yearbook or whatever. I ended up finding a Commercial Photography program in Seattle that I attended for two years right out of high school, which was another huge stepping stone in my life. The program was insane; it taught me so much about technical lighting, business and being a freelancer, which is just as important as being a half-decent photographer.

Ross Measures and Jon Cancellier venture into the sun in Fruita, Colorado.

I was working at a bike shop called Recycled Cycles in Seattle part-time while in school to make ends (barely) meet. I was working up at the front desk one day, and this guy called from Bicycling magazine; he was working on some story about bike shops in America. I told him I was a photographer as well and somehow coaxed him into letting me photograph the piece about the bike shop I worked in, which was a pretty cool place. So that story ran, I think, a couple of photos.

Graham Agassiz shows his flexibility in the woods of Bellingham, Washington, on this day in April of 2018.

But anyway, I was shooting bike photos a ton over there. Downhill racing, street riding, freeride, DJ [dirt jumps], everything. There was so much talent in Seattle, and my buddy Billy Lewis, who’s a super good rider, and I somehow got in touch with Brandon at Freehub mag who was just starting up his magazine at the time. We were going on a road trip adventure around Oregon, and he published the story about our little trip hitting all these different spots. I think that was the first time I got to open a magazine up and just look in awe at how beautiful it is to see your own photography in a magazine.

Ryan Howard gets in some practice before the Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, in October of 2017.

MBA: How many years have you been shooting mountain bikers professionally?

Paris: While I was in college, all I wanted to shoot, of course, was bikes. My professors thought it was awesome, and I was also starting to get some money from companies via the riders I knew. Maxxis was my first client in 2012. They put me on assignment to shoot their new High Roller campaign since a lot of their athletes lived in my area. I really started making some side cash with my photos while still in school and decided I needed to quit the bike shop to really give it everything I had. So, in spring of 2012, I quit the bike shop and haven’t worked a day job since. I had some huge ups and downs though; trying to make it financially was a huge struggle— getting paid on time, managing my budget/savings—all of that was a major balancing act for a freelancer who was just learning to run a business, figure life out and all that.

Josh Dirksen and Adam Craig take a fast line through the aspens on the upper part of the Whole Enchilada Trail near Moab, Utah.

MBA: What are some of your favorite places when it comes to shooting mountain bike photos?

Paris: It’s hard to say. Shooting at home is great of course since I know it so well. But I love getting into the big mountains up in British Columbia, New Zealand, Iceland—places like that are just insane to shoot photos at, since the landscapes are just so dramatic.

Carson Storch carves his way down a popular dune after a rainstorm provided some packed and ridable sand in Pacific City, Oregon, in January 2018.

MBA: Who are some of your favorite riders?

Paris: Oh wow, I might owe someone some beers if I miss a name here. I’ve been so lucky to shoot with most of the high-level riders we have in our sport, and all of them are so good to shoot within their own way. Those athletes work so hard on many levels, but I always appreciate the riders I get to work with that are into the photo/art side of it. A lot of the best photos I’ve gotten were from the riders’ perspective and ideas on what they thought might be a sweet photo.

MBA: What’s your favorite thing about shooting mountain bike photos?

Paris: Honestly, the lead-up to the photo is so much fun. Whether that’s building a jump, adventuring into some deep location, off-roading, scouting, and all that surrounds the image—that is what I really love doing. Sometimes I don’t totally enjoy the actual pulling the trigger part to be straight. It’s really stressful at times, especially if someone is putting a lot on the line for a photo; the risk of them getting hurt is always there. But once the shot is taken and the image pops up on that screen, it’s a feeling I can’t get anywhere else.

MBA: What other kinds of subjects do you like to shoot?

Paris: I’ve been really into a lot of off-bike work lately. It’s super fun to challenge yourself in some new ways. Trail running, hiking and all that is awesome. I am expanding into some new markets, so building up a portfolio with an active lifestyle, automotive, leisure, etc., is a really great way to fill in my time between shooting bikes.

MBA: What’s the biggest challenge in being a professional mountain bike photographer?

Paris: Don’t even get me started. All of it has been a huge challenge—emotionally, physically, financially; it goes on. But, in the end, it’s the best thing I could ever have done with my life, and I will never trade it for anything. I’ve met so many great people, gone to so many great places and experienced a lifetime worth of adventures in a matter of years. But right now I am trying to balance my shooting a bit with other things so I can enjoy the bikes more. I’ve found that just shooting bikes is so demanding on your life. There are a lot of gigs out there where I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten to show my full potential, so being able to have income from other sources allows me to just take the gigs I really want to shoot, which to me is the perfect balance without losing my sanity.

MBA: What’s your favorite camera?

Paris: I use the Nikon D5 or D850 for their respective outstanding uses.

MBA: What are your favorite lenses?

Paris: You can get a lot done with a 70–200mm.

MBA: What photo gear do you normally use when you’re shooting?

Paris: I have a Shimoda 30L camera bag packed with a D5 or D850 for lightweight work; Nikon lenses, which are the 70–200, 24–70, 14–24, 35mm 1.4; and a Sigma 85mm F1.4 ART lens, and just added the 24mm F1.4 ART lens and a Nikon 300 F2.8.

MBA: What are some tips that you might give to up-and-coming photographers?

Paris: Be nice. Don’t use people. Seek out opportunities and know how to capitalize on them when you can. Learn business basics. Work up the ladder of shooting with riders. You never know who you’re talking to or whom they might know. And as I said, first and last, don’t be a jerk. Being humble will get you further than anything else.

MBA: Are there any questions that you wish we’d asked you?

Paris: I think that wraps it up nicely! Thanks for everything.

www.parisgore.com


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