Davey Wilson is an award-winning commercial, sports and documentary photographer published in The Rugby Journal, Pro Cycling Magazine, Velo News and online at Cycling Tips and many more. Wilson served as team photographer for the Axel Merckx-helmed Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team and Utah Warriors (Major League Rugby), as well as the USA Hawks (USA Rugby League). In addition to sports teams, Wilson worked with brands like Degree, The North Face, SRAM, Klean Athlete and more. Most recently, Wilson was the only American shortlisted in The Rugby Journal’s international Rugby Photographer of the Year competition – taking 2nd in the “Portfolio” category.
Wilson possesses a natural ability to capture the raw moments of athletic competition. Employing a broad range of angles, Wilson often pairs lush tonal palettes against dramatic compositions. Utilizing everything from training to warm up, competition and cool down, Wilson’s fly-on-the-wall perspective is often intense and emotional – depicting the life of the athlete like no other.
Where did you grow up and where are you now?
I was born in the US, raised in England and ended up in New York most of my adult life, but after 12 years of it, I wanted the opposite. I recently moved west which brought me closer to my work in cycling and rugby. Currently, I spend 1⁄2 the year in Utah and the rest traveling on assignment – mostly around North America.
How did you get started with photography?
To be honest, I never set out to be a photographer. After spending my entire childhood in an independent art studies program, everyone expected me to go straight to art school, but I wanted to try something else.
Shortly after graduating high school, I landed a job at Columbia Records and dived headfirst into the music industry. I ended up working in music for many years, but even during that time, creative work always found me. In a matter of months I was designing everything from marketing materials to packaging. Inevitably, they moved me to the art department.
Coincidentally, during that time, my flatmate happened to be Richard Avedon’s former full time assistant, so there were handwritten notes, drawers full of test polaroids and photo books lying around at our West Village flat. He’d tell me endless stories, not only from working with Avedon, but also his own work as a photographer. Honestly, it made for a better photography class than any traditional education. I learned a ton, and credit those years for making me the photographer I am today!
My first break was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. After seeing some of my work, a friend at Columbia Records asked me to shoot a band she signed and everything snowballed from there.
So you didn’t always shoot sports?
I actually got my start shooting music – everything from promo portraits, concerts, festivals and even a few album covers. A few years into it, I got asked to shoot some promos for a NY soccer league, and I loved it. Shortly after, I got to work on a campaign which launched around the 2014 World Cup. That started my transition into sports.
What attracted you to shooting sports?
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