Another portrait assignment from a few weeks back, this one of Scottish adventurer and cyclist Mark Beaumont. And not the usual Scottish editorial photography location, this one took place during a few days trip over to Cairo, Egypt, to photograph the start of Mark’s AfricaSolo World Speed Record expedition to cycle from Cairo to Cape Town.
The idea with this portrait was to shoot something the day before Mark began his expedition, to get images which could be used by himself for his social media, his record of the expedition, and for use by his various sponsors back home in Scotland. Instead of shooting in downtown Cairo, in anonymous looking streets, we headed out to the Pyramids, something nice and iconic to place Mark as being in Africa, something that would appeal to the Scottish newspapers the following day for their reports of his expedition beginning. Our use of the Pyramids as a backdrop was slightly hampered by the zealous forces of security that patrol the desert and the Giza Necropolis checking for filming and photography permits, and this dictated where we shot the images and some piece to camera interviews.
The above image and some of Mark cycling, warming up his legs and bike, did indeed run the next day in the UK newspapers. But by that time we were onwards, the expedition had begun with a 7am start at the iconic Cairo Tower, the point where regulations stated the Guinness World Record had to begin. There Mark was met with various media, well-wishers and fellow cyclists who helped him get out of the city in fine style, with a Friday being chosen for the ‘Off’ as the street would be quiet due to the day being a holiday…
And from there it was out of the city, myself and a film crew scrunched up on the back of a jeep vehicle, filming and photographing through the bumpy streets and then out past the first military checkpoint and into the desert country roads…And soon after this was where I parted ways, Mark was on his own, and I was heading back to Cairo to send images back to the UK from a coffee shop with decent wifi. The normal life of a photographer, “flat white, a triangular sandwich and your wifi code please.”
And did Mark succeed you all ask? Yep, 41 days, 10 hours and 22 minutes after that 7am Cairo Tower start, Mark cycled into Cape Town, South Africa, and into the record books! Congratulations Mark!