STAGING Rowing & Regatta special: capturing the August September front cover - British Rowing

Rowing & Regatta special: capturing the August September front cover

We asked Pete Reed to take our front cover for the August September Rowing & Regatta


Pete Reed, triple Olympic champion, took our exclusive cover shot of Jurgen Grobler for the August September Rowing & Regatta.

R&R: How did you approach the photo and what aspects of Jurgen’s personality were you trying to bring out?


Pete: I was both delighted to be asked by Rowing & Regatta to shoot the front cover and daunted by the prospect of trying to capture the great man in a still. I’ve worked closely with Jurgen almost every day for well over a decade so we have a strong bond and I have nothing but total respect for him.

I know my camera inside out; I had a brief to try and capture Jurgen on a black background so I already knew my settings and location from experience. My approach was to try to convey feeling.

I read the R&R feature article with Jurgen thoroughly to get a feel for the tone and I wanted to use my relationship to show his intelligence, complexity and authority. He is a very charming man outside of his coaching job so I purposefully didn’t want him to look too serious, aggressive or dominant. That isn’t Jurgen. He is a strong and fair leader. I am proud of the image and it is a true reflection of Jurgen.

R&R: What equipment did you use for the shoot?

Pete: For the cover shot I used the Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF50-140mm lens. Jurgen was naturally lit by the overcast morning light at Caversham and he is standing in the doorway to the boathouse which lies in dark shadow in comparison. I manually exposed the light for Jurgen’s skin tones and then it was a simple bit of composition, direction, moment and click. Less than 10 minutes in total, which is all he had time for anyway. I love this image.

R&R: What did Jurgen think of the photo?

“It looks good Jurgen, do you want to see?”
“Pete, if you are happy then I am happy.”

R&R: Finally, what advice would you give to would-be photographers?

Pete: Lots of people ask me about photography and gear. The honest truth is that everything is good these days; you just need to find something that you love to use so that you practise more. For me, that is the Fujifilm X-Series of cameras and lenses. They are simply perfect to learn and grow with and they make me want to take more photos for so many reasons.