Malcolm Mclaws | Photographer interview

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Malcolm Mclaws

By: Vinay Menon

Also featured in Issue #13 | Jan 2013 | Special collectors edition

You’ve probably seen his images in many mountain bike magazines ads or famous bike blogs etc around the world. Malcolm Mclaws is a super cool individual and one of the best bike photographers in the world whose skills are not limited to mountain biking photography. We interviewed Malcolm and got to know more about him and his photography. 


FR MTB MAG: A little intro about yourself?
Mclaws: Well I’m a 62 yr old retired freelance photographer who just moved from “The Shore” to the Sunshine Coast, that’s where the Coastal Crew live. I’ve done work for,, Red Bull,Mtn Bike UK and lately for Chop MTB .com a new online e-mag.  I love to travel, have been from A-Z, Afghanistan to Zambia! My Camera is my second friend, we are never apart it seems. Self taught @ photography, and it shows at times!
FR MTB MAG: What does your Camera bag consist of on most shoots?
Mclaws: I shoot with a 7D Canon, 10-22, 17-40, 24-105 and a 70-200


FR MTB MAG: Favorite time of the day to shoot and why?
Mclaws: Evenings……simply because of the “Golden Hour”, morning light just doesn’t last long enough.
FR MTB MAG: Which sport do you enjoy capturing the most?
Mclaws: Mainly Mountain biking. Just amazed at the progression of the sport over the years. My other interest is nature/ landscape and I spend my travels going to National Parks in my trailer!


FR MTB MAG: Any specific location that always delivers on a mountain bike shoot?
Mclaws: Whistler/Crankworx or Red Bull Rampage, both bring out the riders who want to step it up for a shot.
FR MTB MAG: Some locations on your wish list that you haven’t shot yet?
Mclaws: Yeah, back in the 70’s I travelled to Kashmir/Ladakh… I want to do a shoot in Ladakh with the barren terrain and Tibetan style monasteries… ‘Where The Trail Ends’ style.


FR MTB MAG: Do you play on your bike as much as you play with the Camera trigger?
Mclaws: No, my riding is behind me after 2 shoulder surgeries. That being said I did a shoot with the Goldstone family on Whistler’s new Top of the World trail during Crankworx this summer. Sure was tough riding, shooting and just trying to get down the mountain in one piece, 1100’ vertical trail then another 3500’ to the bottom on the bike park, I was beat to say the least!


FR MTB MAG: If you were to go on a three month mountain bike shootout, which riders would you consider in your brigade?
Mclaws: That’s tough one with all the talent we have in British Columbia but I guess my first choice would be Geoff “ Gully” Gulevich, he’s been a family friend with my 2 sons for years, he is a true young pro!
Next and an easy one, Darren “Claw” Berrecloth, this guy is as tough, talented and professional as they come. Last choice is a guy I find a true image maker for the sport, Andreu Lacondeguy, he never fails to do something unexpected.


FR MTB MAG: Do you feel being behind the bars on a bike helps you relate better to a rider in action?
Mclaws: Ha Ha! That would be true if I had any talent on a bike. But yeah, being a rider helps you understand the sport and what might happen. You also need to know each riders talent bag and when they may unleash them.


FR MTB MAG: Could you share some moments from your first photography assignment?
Mclaws: My first big one was for Mountain Bike, MB UK, during Crankworx week.  They wanted everything covered. Expo, riders, DH, Dual Slalom, lifestyle and the big dog, Crankworx slopestyle. I was running everywhere, they did a 14 page spread, used lots of my shots and the guy who gives photo credit to the article leaves my name off ! Yep, I was pissed to say the least but what are you gonna do?


FR MTB MAG: Any specific shoot in the coming season that you are super stoked about?
Mclaws: I’ve heard word that Red Bull MAY do Rampage again this year and it could be in Mongolia? I would love to travel over and shoot the event, the culture and of course the people. Who knows what a new year may bring, a plane ticket to China could mean a side trip to India again?


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