Joe............   Bailey

Who is Joe Bailey?

I'm a man pushing 30 who lives in Leeds and still rides a BMX (albeit not that much in winter) who has successfully not had a 'proper' job for a good few years now. I also take photographs.



Years shooting:

Urrmm, I bought my first SLR camera with my first wage at 16 so 12 years ago. I have been Shooting 'professionally' now for about five years though.



What got you into taking photos?

Same as most BMX photographers I guess, just looking at the magazines and trying to emulate what I saw in there. It took me years to figure out what anything on the camera actually does, like shutter speed, aperture etc. So that resulted in mostly running man mode for BMX stuff, head mode for portraits and mountain mode for landscapes for the first few years.



First photography related memory:

Looking at terribly exposed family holiday photos that were shot on disposable cameras in the worst conditions, printed by plonkers.



Best photography experience:

What a hard question! I've had some amazing experiences whilst being away with my camera. Most of the time the experiences don't actually come directly from shooting the photos but it's part of the journey. It's all about who you're with at the time and where you are.


As far as a BMX photo goes, the bomb drop that Jason Phelan did in Malaga was something special. I knew he had something ticking away in his head and it wasn't long before I guessed what it was. I set up my cameras just in case he was going to do it and before long he was up on the rail jumping in. Seriously still the craziest thing I've ever seen on a BMX. Do or die.



Worst photography experience:

Nothing too bad really, never had any of my gear stolen from me at gun point or anything like that.


I was shooting a photo of Tom Sanders in a rough area of Leeds once though, he was trying to ice pick a double kinked rail, and after about 15 attempts his bike shot off and smashed the light of a pretty snazzy car. I can't remember the make but it was the kind of vehicle a grown up scally/hard bastard would drive and be their pride and joy.


Anyway, we did one, each with a light stand and flash in our hands as I didn't have any time to pack up. Within seconds the guy was in his car and speeding after us. Everyone else got away but I got cornered with half of my equipment all over the floor. Long story short, he took some of my gear and said that whoever did the damage better go round and sort it out, and with that he chucked my flash in the car and sped off.


I rode into town and met Sandy to tell him but I had already come up with a plan to get my shit back and diffuse the situation. We both took a tenner out and I rode down to the mad guys house, I had already given him about £3.48 in change for his light so I knocked on the door and said “all my mates have run off and won't answer their phones, is £20 ok to fix the light m m m Mr?”. It turns out the guy was pretty sound and he said he was pissed off because we all legged it rather than offer to pay for it. I got my flash back and everyone was happy...



Advice for taking a great photo:

Location, location, location



Three favourite photographers:

To be honest I've never gotten into looking at specific photographers’ outside of BMX and then start following their work. I just like seeing good photography.


l love old B&W war and street photography, grainy and gritty, where the photographer is just fully catching the moment with their camera; that's kind of the whole point of photography in my opinion.


BMX photographer wise it's got to be:

  1. Ricky Adam

  2. Rob Dolecki

  3. Vince Perraud



Photography highlight/achievement:

Just getting the opportunity to take photos I guess. Not really achieved much more than that.



Why do you take photos?

  1. 1.It's fun

  2. 2.It helps me to be able to keep travelling.

  3. 3.The feeling you get when you take a good photo is similar to the feeling of doing something good on your bike.

  4. 4.I've met some really cool people from it.

  5. 5.It pays the bills.




Top five photos:

Ben Basford Carve


Ben Basford carving it up in Burton on Trent

Canon 5dMK2

Fadge Turndown Fakie


Danny Fadge, Turndown to fakie in the snow. Hyde Park, Leeds

Hasselblad 500c/m

Jason Bomb Drop


Jason Phelan, crazy as fuck Malaga

Yashica 635

Jenner KFAD Table


Chris Jenner, table over a bunch of burning ramps at King For A Day jam 2013. Hyde Park, Leeds Canon 5dMK2

Me On Bike POV


Me, POV Leeds

Canon EOS5, Fujifilm Neopan 1600