LE TOUR is an ambient photo study of the Tour de France, the most famous and prestigious road bicycle race in the world. BRENT HUMPHREYS is an award-winning photographer based in Austin, Texas. His photographs of the Tour de France are part of an ongoing book project he began in 2004. BRENT HUMPHREYS’ passion for cycling began as a teenager racing BMX around Texas. He would borrow his mother’s 35mm camera to take pictures of his BMX and skateboarding friends.Eventually, he graduated to a road bike and his own camera. After studying photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara and later at East Texas State University, his award-winning photography has taken him around the world. His editorial work hasappeared on the pages of The New York Times, Texas Monthly, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Outside, and Wired.
Brent Humphreys had long dreamed of the Tour de France, and after years of a lively photography career he flew to his first Tour as a spectator in 2004. Captivated by what he saw, it was to become an annual photographic pilgrimage with no end in immediate sight.
Held annually since 1903, interrupted only by World Wars I and II, the Tour de France features riders clad in bright team colors competing in the most physiologically demanding of sporting events. The distance and time of the Tour is comparable to running a marathon several days a week for nearly three weeks. The vertical distance climbed traversing the Alps and Pyrenees is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest three times. Riders cover an average course distance each year of 3500k and will consume and burn as much as 10,000 calories per day. Millions of colorful fans from across the globe flock to line its route each year to enjoy not only the French landscape but also its neighboring countries: Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, The Netherlands, TheRepublic of Ireland and The UK. Fervent fans camp out, in some cases a week, to secure the most scenic views. In the hours preceding the race’s pass, a carnival atmosphere prevails as people nap, picnic and socialize in wait to catch a fleeting glimpse of the colorful circus on wheels. The winner is the individual rider who finishes the course of the race in Paris with the least total accumulated time.
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