Bernard Thompson (1924 – 2007)
“It is photojournalism, not just pictures of blokes on bikes. One aspect of cycling photography is getting a great picture of Lance Armstrong storming up a mountain, but with Bernard it was the characters at the roadside that mattered just as much.”
Bernard Thompson was, for over three decades, the best-known photographer of cycle racing in the UK. From the 1960s through to the early ’90s, no major race felt complete unless Bernard and his wife, Eth, were in attendance, their camper van with its Cycling magazine logo in position at the finish line.
His published work was, understandably, tightly cropped shots of the main contenders in flight – especially the greats of time-trialling, including the likes of Beryl Burton, Alf Engers, Ian Cammish and Dave Akam.
Yet his monumental archive reveals a wealth of stunning imagery, reportage of the highest order that captures the essence of British bike racing, especially time-trials. Thompson took full advantage of the long shadows and deserted roads at the unsociably early morning starts, capturing not only the stars of the scene, but also-rans, timekeepers, tramps wandering past, seemingly oblivious to the speeding racers beside them.
1 presents an exhibition of Bernard’s finest work, alongside artwork of the very best of our magazine covers from the past eight years.
Sunday 22nd also features an afternoon of cycling events celebrating the Tour de France, including a talk and Q&A from journalists and Cycling Anthology writers Lionel Birnie, Ellis Bacon and 28. Tickets here.
Opening party : Sunday, June 22 – 12-2pm
Riverhouse Arts Centre
Dates for exhibition: Wednesday June 18 – Sunday June 29