A lens capped

Graham Watson has hung up his camera bag to enjoy the good life (which includes not lugging a metric shit-ton of camera gear all over the planet).

He turned 60 last March, and his final outing as a pro shooter was last month’s Tour Down Under.

When I was throwing pixels at the digital wall for that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling GW was a mainstay of our photography, as was (and still is) Casey B. Gibson. Between the two of them we pretty much covered the globe like Sherwin-Williams.

It’s a tough hustle, pro shooting, The travel is unending, and the days run 48 hours apiece. The bag weighs a ton, the pay sucks, and wankers steal your images without so much as a by-your-leave.

But the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words is a cliché because it’s true. One good shot will tell you more about bike racing than anyone’s prose, mine included.

So raise a glass to Graham Watson, who has gone to ground in New Zealand. I’ll honor him by not lifting an image for this post.




20 Responses to “A lens capped”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Cheers to Mr. Watson…I have never seen bikes and sunflowers so beautifully juxtaposed. He realized and shared so many amazing images throughout the years…

  2. khal spencer Says:

    He will be missed. I have a copy of that great cycling photography book made up of his photographs. Plus when I was president of the Hawaii Bicycling League, we once gave an award for a person who lifted cycling to a new spiritual level and called it The Spirit of Cycling Award. I called Graham’s business and bought a photo from him to frame as part of the award. It was that picture of Lance Armstrong pointing skyward after winning Stage 16 of the 1995 Tour de France on a breakaway after teammate Fabio Casartelli died in a horrible crash while descending on Stage 15.

    The award was in the late ’90’s before Armstrong’s fall from grace. I gave the first one to an organization that had organized, out of the box, a successful multi island bike tour to raise funds for AIDS. Of course, I was slightly motivated since I had just lost my brother in law, the late Rev. Warren R. Zeh, who died a horrible and lonely death of AIDS.

  3. khal spencer Says:


  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    You, Patrick, are a classy guy! I used to have 3 or 4 of his TdF posters hanging in the garage before we moved. Have a great retirement Graham, where ever you are. Maybe he can ride with Hurben some day.

    Speaking of classy, check this out.


  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    We have one of his wall switchplates with an image from (I think) the Passo Gardena in Italy in our Iowa office. There’s one with TdF sunflowers in our bedroom. Hope he enjoys retirement – I think he earned it!

  6. Flahute Says:

    Does this mean that we won’t have to look at another of his ubiquitous sunflower shots that he repeats over and over and over again year after year?

    There is no doubt that GW is a fantastic photographer, but to my eyes, he lost his creativity decades ago.

  7. Keith Willy Says:

    Thanks for letting us know. Did not see this. I fizzled out of watching pro-cycling as a bitter ex-lance enthusiast. GW is a gem. Loosing too many of them lately.

  8. khal spencer Says:

    Hey, come on. Had it not been for Watson’s famous sunflower photographs, the entire sunflower scandal involving the Tour de Franc would never have been uncovered by VeloNews.

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