"I'm not a typical action sport photographer – I'd say I'm a fine art action sport photographer," says Canon Ambassador Lorenz Holder. "Somebody once asked me what the perfect action sport photo is. For me, it's an image that people would put on their wall even if the athlete was not in it. If you create a great surrounding and manage to get an athlete in there as well, then in my opinion this is the perfect action shot."
Lorenz is well-known for taking the crisp lines and poetic scenes of architecture and landscape, and adding the drama of action sport. His portfolio is bursting with spectacle – shots of skateboarders landing tricks in the middle of picturesque lakes, BMX riders balancing precariously on sculptural buildings, snowboarders leaping above crisp white mountain peaks and more. His fresh style has impressed commercial clients including sportswear brands and car manufacturers and led to interesting projects around the world.
When he stumbled across an image of a viaduct online – complete with concentric shapes that appear like an optical illusion – his interest was immediately piqued. "It just blew my mind because it was so surreal and seemed almost manipulated. When you look at it for a couple of seconds, then you understand what's going on. It got stuck in my head and I knew I had to shoot something there."
The bridge supports of the Balcombe Viaduct in West Sussex, England, are shaped like small halfpipes – it seemed like the perfect spot for a skateboarder to ride. With the sun lower in the sky, Lorenz anticipated that the sun would illuminate one side of the arches, creating a striking pattern. "I looked for angles and made layouts of the way I imagined the shots," says Lorenz. "Most of the time I already have the shot that I want to create in my head. The cameras and lenses are the tools with which to put all the puzzle pieces together."
With the help of leading German street skateboarder and Red Bull Athlete Vladik Scholz, a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM), Lorenz set about realising the picture he had in his head.