“I've always had a passion for photography starting at an early age,” says Paris Gore.
Never mind that, at 21 years old, he’s still at a very early age for a full-time action sports photographer. But one could be forgiven for overlooking the fact that the Spokane, WA native with the Hiltonian name just recently gained legal entry to stateside watering holes. His work has already appeared in numerous mountain bike titles from Freehub to Bike Magazine to Decline, and his list of commercial clients runs deep from Red Bull to Smith Optics to a number of major bike manufacturers—Giant, Trek, Diamondback, Norco, Devinci and beyond. He can even grow a half-decent man beard.
“I took a photography class freshman year of high school and really loved it,” Paris continues. “From there I was on the yearbook for three years shooting random sports. Bikes have always been a major part of my life and came long before photography, but I actually didn't shoot any bikes for about two years until I connected the dots and realized I could do all the things I love doing together. That's when taking pictures of high school football really started to die out for me.”
Following high school, his passion for dirt-based documentarianism took him to the two-year Commercial Photography program at Seattle Central Community College, which he followed up with a one-year print publishing certificate. There he also hooked up with a crew of talented riders, including the ever-creative Steven Bafus, with whom he collaborated to land a place in the top 250 of the 2013 Red Illume photo contest—a sure sign of arrival for an aspiring action sports photographer.
“I like to keep things fresh and unique while continuing to refine my style every day. Without giving a place undeserved justice, I really enjoy showing the story behind where the athlete is riding.”
When asked about his personal style behind the lens, he responds with humility. “As a young photographer my style is defiantly growing and still has a long way to go,” he says. “I like to keep things fresh and unique while continuing to refine my style every day. Without giving a place undeserved justice, I really enjoy showing the story behind where the athlete is riding. I want to convey the feeling in the photo that the viewer is there in person and can feel the mood of the day and try to frame each photo for the surrounding elements and just happen to have a rider in the image.”
This style may be easy to describe, but it’s difficult to achieve. When framing loose, maintaining a clean image can be difficult, but Paris has a knack for eliminating unnecessary elements while still composing wide to show the landscape—one need only look to the cover of this issue to see this approach in practice.
“Paris's body of work showcases his passion for biking and his images help tell the type of authentic stories that we aim to capture within our pages.” - Brandon Watts
For 2013, Paris’s humble approach, endless hustle and growing talents landed him a migratory gig documenting the World Cup Downhill circuit and gaining the kind of passport ink usually reserved for people with twice his years and an exponentially deeper bank account. And once the excitement settled from Stevie Smith’s epic run to the title, Paris found a home in Bellingham, WA, and a desk at the offices of Freehub Magazine as the title’s only Senior Photographer.
“Freehub is excited to share an office with Paris,” says Freehub President Brandon Watts, “to not only collaborate, but also explore new projects with an up-and-coming photographer that has a fresh eye and inspiring style. Paris's body of work showcases his passion for biking and his images help tell the type of authentic stories that we aim to capture within our pages. It was a natural fit.”
With two years of full-time shooting under his belt, Paris is leading a new wave of mountain bike paparazzi—and only a few years removed from yearbook club, it feels like Paris is still coming to terms with his place amongst the ranks of mountain biking’s household names behind the lens. “It's been an incredible year and I am still trying to get a grasp on it,” Paris says. “I really couldn't be more thankful for the opportunities that have landed in my lap this year and I look forward for the years to come.”
“I really couldn't be more thankful for the opportunities that have landed in my lap this year and I look forward for the years to come."
Kind of a stock answer, maybe, but Paris’s work is anything but stock. One need only look as far as the pages of this title to watch him grow alongside the next generation of riders—he is undoubtedly going to be front and center as a principal archivist of mountain biking’s youth gone wild.