Graham Watson - Photographer

Graham Watson

Born in London, 1956. Studied at Stanley Technical High School until age 16, after which Graham joined society photographer, Lenare, for a period between 1972-1977. It was here that Graham learned the basics of photography - composition, lighting, exposure, film and print processing, etc - before becoming involved in cycling whilst riding 20-kilometres into London and back each day. Following a weekend trip to the 1977 Tour de France in Paris, Graham won a small photographer's competition organized by the British 'Cycling Weekly' magazine and his career as a cycling photographer was launched. During a year or so photographing British-based races, Graham still traveled to Europe to photograph the Tour de France, but also Classics like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix - which he first saw after cycling to and from the channel port of Calais in 1980, a day's mileage of over 200-kilometres.

By the mid-1980's, Graham's clientele had grown to include magazines in USA, Japan, Germany and Australia, and especially Spain, where he was the founding photographer for Ciclismo a Fondo. His clients reflected the nationalities of the top racers back then - Pedro Delgado, Sean Kelly, Robert Millar, Paul Sherwen, Phil Anderson and Greg LeMond - a factor that Graham's readily acknowledges has helped his career. The domination by these racers, and the interest from his new clients, helped Graham break into the Continental 'clique' of cycling photographers, to the point where he was a regular on the circuit by 1987, the year when he first followed the Tour de France by motorbike and watched Stephen Roche win a superbly contested race.

Graham established his reputation beyond any one cyclist or nation of cyclists, and his clients included the UCI (the sport's governing body), Cycle Sport (UK), Ciclismo a Fondo (Spain), Cycling Weekly (UK), 'RIDE Cycling review (Australia)', New Zealand Road Cyclist, Cycle Sports (Japan), as well as a host of specialist web-sites. Graham was also engaged by many leading teams and their sponsors to provide their photography. Graham photographed seven Olympic Games, from Barcelona in 1992 to Rio de Janeiroin 2016, but regards London 2012 as his career highlight because of the atmosphere and superb organisation. Like many of his colleagues, Graham has his own web-site: www.grahamwatson.com, and readers could enjoy same-day race-coverage from over 160 days' racing a year. Following Graham's recent retirement a special gallery has been added that features 1,000 images relating to Graham's 40-year career.

Graham has authored or co-authored over 20 books, including 'Kings of the Road' (1986), 'Visions of Cycling' (1998), 'The Tour de France and its Heroes' (1989), 'The Road to Hell' (1990), 'The Great Tours' (1994), '20 Years of Cycling' (2000), and Lansdscapes of Cycling (2004). He has been the exclusive photographer with Stephen Roche's 'My Road to Victory' (1987), Miguel Indurain's 'Corazón de Ciclista' (1993), and Lance Armstrong's 'Images of a Champion' (2003, 2004, 2005) His most recent titles are 'The Long Road to Paris', a coffee-table photo-book co-authored with Cadel Evans (2011), and ‘Tour de France Guide’ – a complete traveller’s guide to the greatest race in the world (2009).

Graham's work has been exhibited all over the world, most notably with 'Eyes on the Tour de France' an exhibition that visited Dublin in 1998, London in 2007, and Leeds in 2014. Graham has held smaller exhibitions in Austin International Airport (2000), Boulder (2002), and in New York (2003). His last exhibitions were in Geelong, Australia, during the 2010 World Cycling Championships, and in Leeds during the Grande Depart of 2014.