With shots capturing the
best, brightest young talents in mountain biking over the past ten years,
combined with the stunning natural beauty of British Columbia, it’s easy to see
why Sterling Lorence’s work has graced the pages of any and all imaginable
mainstream sports magazines.
Growing up as an outdoor
enthusiast on the North Shore of B.C., Lorence was a gearhead first and
foremost, but couldn’t help but be inspired by his surroundings.
“I’ve spent sort of a
lifetime in the Sea to Sky corridor, so snowboarding, skiing and mountain
biking took us to all of those beautiful places in B.C. and… I wanted to be
able to shoot the amazing places that bikes and boards took us,” he explained.
The more time he spent in the
great outdoors, the more he became motivated to record the surrounding beauty
properly, eventually pushing him to learn about photography so he could capture
the incredible moments on the trails.
Now, talented young athletes
know the channels to take if they want to make it big – movies and
magazines. But back in the late ‘90s, when Lorence was just learning the tricks
of the trade, the commercial aspect of biking wasn’t really a consideration.
“That world of adventure
sports being in the forefront of magazines today didn’t really exist when we
were younger,” he explained. “It was more about just being out there.”
His career really took off
when freeride mountain biking and the North Shore style of riding exploded onto
As an avid rider of these
trails, Lorence was in the perfect position to capture the images that everyone
wanted to see, working alongside riders like Andrew Shandro and Wade Simmons,
when trail builders like Dangerous Dan were getting their start.
“The magazines of the world
wanted to show that because it was something so dramatically different than
what people were used to seeing,” he said.
He had found his niche.
Today, he works with some
huge international businesses like Adidas and Oakley, as well as some of the
largest corporations in the province to ensure he can maintain his career and
home here in B.C.
“My goal was to sort of
anchor myself with a lot of those local companies, knowing they need work, and
I want to be their guy,” he said. “And I know where to go.”
He points out that he has
spent 36 years getting to know the ins and outs of the province’s beautiful
forests, which is a huge selling feature for his clients.
But Lorence stresses that he
doesn’t just capture professional riders making 60-foot drops – beyond
the hardcore mountain bike scene, he uses his lens to capture other things,
whether it be trail running or a Toyota Tacoma ad in Whistler.
Though he’s based out of
Vancouver now, Lorence has some strong ties to Whistler. He grew up skiing
here, and spends a lot of time shooting throughout the Sea to Sky region.
He recently did a shoot with
Gary Fisher Bikes, which reinforced how much the province has to offer in the
way of diverse natural surroundings.
“We had five days to do 11
different bikes for their catalog, and…day one we were in Pemberton, up getting
Mount Currie in the background, right through to shooting the sickest forest
shots in Squamish… and then on the last night we were in Merritt, up in the
Nicola Valley, up in the rolling grassland hills there with the firing sunset,”
Within three hours, they were
able to access some dramatically different scenery.
“I’m not planning on moving
anytime soon,” Lorence said with a laugh.
That said, his career has
taken him all over the world. He’s been to Morocco, Africa, the Canary Islands,
Hawaii, and other countries to shoot. Right now the world wants to see B.C., so
he has the option to stick close to home.
For the month of August,
beginning this Saturday, Lorence will be exhibiting a wide range of his work at
the Blake Jorgenson Gallery in Whistler.
“It makes me feel pretty
fortunate to have Blake give me the call to be one of the people that gets to
be in his gallery,” Lorence said, “That’s obviously an honour, being alongside
him, because I certainly respect his work and what he does.”
He has selected pieces that
he hopes will appeal to the diverse crowd that frequents Whistler, not just the
hardcore mountain bike industry professionals — showing new work
alongside shots from the beginning of his career, and showcasing B.C. and other
places photography has taken him over the years.
“There are so many visitors
there from all over the world, and so many different types of people coming
through that space,” he said.
Visitors can expect to see a
well-rounded selection of some of Lorence’s most powerful work from over the
past ten years.
“I’m not getting too specific
in one area, I’m sort of trying to hit all the spots – from the North
Shore to some of the more crazy stuff we’ve done in Utah, and then a little
collection of black and whites,” Lorence added.
Each piece will be
accompanied by a narrative so visitors can get the real story behind the shot.
The timing is appropriate,
too – the exhibition takes place during Kokanee Crankworx festival, an
event that sees biking enthusiasts from around the world flock to Whistler to
race and check out the talent.
“There should be a pretty
good group of people walking through the gallery, which is obviously great
exposure, as well, to people who don’t really know me or didn’t realize that I
was from this area,” he said.
Though he’s in the midst of
catalog season, Lorence will also be shooting in the area during Crankworx and
doing some work for Whistler-Blackcomb.
There are sure to be a lot of
talented, aspiring bikers in town, and Lorence hopes his photography will
inspire a new appreciation of the hard work and passion within the industry,
promote the natural surroundings that bikes to can take us to, and show how the
sport has evolved over time.
Lorence’s exhibition is set
to open at the Blake Jorgenson Gallery on Saturday, Aug. 2, the same evening
that the gallery hosts an opening reception for the Whistler Art Council’s