February 10-19, 2017

A picture tells a thousand words...

A picture tells a thousand words.

It's an old saying. 

However like most old sayings, it’s true, especially with the work of Rotorua photographer, Graeme Murray.

He’s documented the growth of mountain biking in the city since the mid-1990s when he was also active in the early downhill racing scene.

“It’s such an important part of my life and the local mountain bike community is great,” said Murray as he launched his new 2015 calendar just in time for Christmas.

“Yes, I shoot for clients, but often I have an idea and have to get out into the forest and document it.”

 

Murray’s calendars are an outlet for the work he does for his own portfolio and are very popular limited editions.

He grew up in Rotorua - and the Whakarewarewa Forest. He’s as passionate about the city, the trails and riding his bike as he was 20 years ago.

“Looking back I think these all helped inspire me to study to be a photographer,” he continued. “The forest has a lot of different moods and I love capturing all of those. And there’s no better way to explore the forest than on a bike…even with a heavy camera bag on my back.”

 

Murray was one of the pioneering trail builders in Rotorua.

“On a bike, with a camera or on the end of a shovel, it’s all part of being a mountain biker to me,” he added.

 

When Red Bulletin named Rotorua in its top eight mountain bike destinations in the world and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere, the images used to illustrate the story were his.
“I’ve had a long term relationship with Red Bull,” he said. “Stories I’ve shot for them, like a big feature on the 2010 Singlespeed World Championships, have made it hard for them to ignore our place.”

 

Murray has supplied the images for the poster art for all three Rotorua Bike Festivals.

“Graeme has a unique spatial sense and talent that’s a bit hard to describe,” said Graeme Simpson, media and marketing coordinator for the Festival. “We’ve worked on a variety of photographic and video projects over the years, both mountain biking and commercial, and I think it's that where most people may simply see a good-looking view, GMuzz sees a rider in that space.”

 

 

 

What is easier to describe is the contribution Murray has made to the promotion of mountain biking in his hometown.

“Graeme’s been around since the early days and, like a lot of people in town, hasn't just ridden the wave, he’s been a big part in creating it,” Simpson continued. “He was tireless shooting at the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Rotorua after helping with a lot of the promotion in the two year lead in to the event - and on a very tight budget.”

 

The results and impact were tangible and showcased Rotorua mountain biking to the world for the first time.

“He’d download his photos of the day every evening at the media centre and I’d have them up on the website within an hour of racing finishing,” Simpson added. “The galleries had 1.2 million views the week of the Worlds and more than 3 million over the lifetime of the site.”

 

The new calendar is available from Rotorua bike shops and at www.nzoactive.com for fans of Murray's work outside the city.

Nzo is a Rotorua-based mountain bike clothing designer and manufacturer. 

Gary Sullivan from Nzo has also been a major contributor to the growth of mountain biking in the town.

 

He’s worked closely with Murray since moving his business to Rotorua in 1998.

“Graeme always delivers creatively,” said Sullivan. “And there’s a special spark and magic to every frame he shoots.”

 

Sullivan will definitely be hanging one of the calendars in the Nzo design office.

“These days we all have flash, digital calendars on our phones,” said Sullivan. “Sometimes, it’s nice to have an old-school print calendar on the wall, especially when they are practical pieces of art. With Graeme’s calendars, there’s also a bit of a thrill, turning the page at the end of every month to reveal what's next.

And if you want a literal snapshot of what all the fuss about our place is, then this is it.”

 

With the 2015 calendar done, Murray is looking forward to another big year in Rotorua.

There is a major new project in the pipeline that he’s involved with.

“I can’t say too much at this stage except it’s in the mountain bike space,” he said with a chuckle, before heading out into the forest on another big ride. “All will be revealed in mid-January.”