Born from a love of cycling, Collectif is a yearlong project from sports photographer Fredrik Clement showing life on the road for Denmark’s professional cycling team, Team Saxo-Tinkoff. Clement is currently following the team during their 2013 season, documenting the races behind-the-scenes and taking a look at the culture that surrounds the sport.
“We all know the official side of things, but what happens on the bus?” Clement asks. “What happens when all the lights have been turned off? And who are the people working behind the riders: the mechanics, the chef, the soigneurs?” Clement takes a look at the whole picture, cyclists, workers, spectators… “The whole traveling circus,” Clement jests.
The end product will be a 200-300 page color book created by Clement, Art Director Jan Rasmussen and Project Manager Jesper Grundahl, who also share Clement’s passion for the sport. The integrity of the project can be felt from all sides, the very definition of a true passion project. “All members of Collectif are passionate about cycling, and we also ride ourselves,” Clement says. In addition, Rasmussen develops artwork for cargo bike brand Bullitt and Grundahl previously worked as marketing consultant for Rapha Performance Roadwear.
Clement’s level of access has been crucial to Collectif, and his relationship with the team has not been short-winded. He built the relationship over the years, spending the better half of a decade shooting cycling-related images and films for team sponsor Saxo Bank. “This has been key in the team’s trust in me and agreeing to take part in the book project,” he explains.
Mutual respect is key, and Clement upholds this when approaching his subjects. “Working with a team of this kind, you also know there are times where your presence and camera are not needed or wanted,” he comments. His camera will often be out of the sight on the tour bus for instance, which he calls “a free zone” for the cyclists. “[It’s] a place where they can escape from fans, the press – and photographers.” Instead he spends time with the team and the staff, getting to know them on a personal level.
Clement hit the road with Team Saxo-Tinkoff in January 2013 during their winter training camp, and has photographed the Spring Classics, Ardennes Classics and the Grand Tours since then. He will continue to shoot select races through the fall. The book is scheduled to release November 1st, 2013, so he expects the final races he documents will be the three-week Vuelta Espana tour in September and the Japan Cup in October, two of the last events in the UCI World Tour.
The timeline from initial idea to final product is roughly one year, a challenging project even for those with other photography books under their belt. This will be Clement’s first book project, and he says he feels a bit like an expectant father, proud and a little anxious to see it through.
Throughout the process, Clement has been updating the Collectif Web site and Facebook page with a taste of what’s to come. His edits are kept tight for the Web, telling the stories in a small selection of images, and on Facebook, often through only one image. “We believe you should be able to tell a good story in the tightest edit possible,” he says. Clement’s collection of imagery is amassing however, and the book promises a deep and insightful look at the lives of the Saxo-Tinkoff team.
For more information on Collectif, visit collectif.cc.
For Fredrik Clement's personal Web site, visit fredrikclement.com