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From Urban Skiing to Urban Rock – A Profile

He made his start in urban skiing photography. Now he shoots climbing. Mathieu Tranchida shoots high-pace images that set him apart

Sports photography offers numerous angles depending on the discipline. While climbing photography maintains an intimate aesthetic between the viewer, the climber and the wall, some of the more fast-paced photos of skiing or mountain biking brings exhilaration into a single frame.

Remco Kayser– photo by Mathieu Tranchida

Mathieu Tranchida is one photographer that does not limit himself to a single sport. Instead, he uses his experience from previous outdoor shoots to better capture extreme sports.

The 23-year-old found the outdoors in one of the most exciting countries for outdoor recreation. Although he was born in France, he would begin shooting in Switzerland after pursuing a love for skiing.

“When I was 13 years old, I started skiing with friends, going off piece, free riding and free styling. I immediately fell in love with it. That was my introduction to outdoor sport and extreme sport and stuff like that. I did a bit of climbing when I was younger, but for some reason I stopped. I started again when I moved to Montreal.”

Over these last five years, Tranchida has studied business at Concordia University. Today, he looks for work that includes all of what he has learned, focusing on marketing and content creation.

Bea Evans – photo by Mathieu Tranchida

Last summer, Tranchida would join Bea Evans for an urban climbing shoot around Montreal. His shoot, published in Gripped last fall, would earn him the experience to shoot photos for Disturban.

Disturban became one of the first modern climbing films of its kind and offered the unique angles of a structure’s feature in composition with the individual on the climb. It excited Tranchida that each of the Disturban sites would differ from those he shot over that summer.

Although he grew up skiing instead of climbing, Disturban offered Tranchida the opportunity to return to a style of photography for which he’d become proficient. He originally shot with professional skiers in Switzerland that would often tackle urban sites for their tricks.

“I took the same approach that I do in urban skiing. I try to get the monument or the urban piece, and then put the climber into it.” Tranchida noted that despite this experience, shooting skiing differs from shooting climbing.

“The spots we shoot in urban (skiing) are incredibly dangerous. There’s no room for mistakes and I have to get the shot. They can’t do it twice. I had to learn to balance the craziest shot that had a low chance of success against a good shot that had a better chance of success.”

Bea Evans High Up – photo by Mathieu Tranchida

By contrast, the slower moving, and relatively protected sport that is climbing allowed for more predictable photographs. Of course, climbing has its own limitations.

While Tranchida has normally works in a bright, snowy space, taking climbing photos requires unique lighting to get the perfect shot. Because of the dark surfaces climbing covers, planning for the right light at the right time motivates Tranchida to wake up before dawn to prepare for the perfect shot.

Tranchida also notes that his limited experience with climbing has allowed him the distance required to offer a new perspective on a piece.

Whether they surround climbing or skiing, Tranchida’s photos offer motion. “Whenever I shoot, I ask my subject to be themselves and never worry about me. I should be the one that worries about the camera and my angle and how they look.”

Ultimately, Tranchida loves having the opportunity to show his audience the skill of the athlete. “I just really love the process and being the person that shows what an athlete can do.”

Like many of the artists that we have spoken to from Montreal, Tranchida values the experiences he has with other creatives. He referenced Alexa Fay and Aidan Cameron as two of his primary inspirations for developing his craft.

Between rock climbing, diving, and skiing, Tranchida’s broadening quiver of skills makes the young artist an exciting photographer to watch in these coming years.

Featured image of Bea Evans by Mathieu Tranchida.

Check out his website here.