The Athlete's Perspective: Gee Atherton Athletes and photographers have a very unique relationship. Below, legendary downhill rider Gee Atherton tells us in his own words why good action sport photographers rock – and why keeping it real is what matters most. 04/19/2016 © Sven Martin "Downhill mountain-biking is quite a tricky sport to showcase to the masses. The nature of the sport means you’re hidden on some steep rugged mountain away from the crowds so you need these guys who are willing to spend so much of their time to capture the shots, but also to take the risks to get into those places." "The importance of photography is huge. From quite an early age I realised there was so much more to it than just race results. I learnt quickly that sponsors were as attracted to the cool shots and the creative side, often more than the race results themselves. That really excited me.""When I started racing it was before social media and all about the magazines. Me and Dan would religiously buy these magazines and trawl through them. You’d see these incredible photos of guys winning World Cups that were taken from incredible angles. Some of the shots would literally send shivers down your spine. Those are the shots that would affect us so much and grow our passion for the sport and make us desperate to get on the racetrack ourselves.""I’ve been really lucky to work with a lot of amazing photographers, it’s been an honor to work with these guys – an eye opener to see how hard they work. One guy who stands out is Sven Martin. I’ve worked a huge amount with him." "For him getting the shot that he wants is top priority. Everything that goes with that is a side-note. From long days stood out in the rain to hours spent waiting at the side of a World Cup track to capture that one shot, or sat outside a dusty turn where he’s getting coated in dirt, to climbing trees, hanging off rocks, roping himself off things, there’s literally no end that he won’t go to in order to get the shot." "Something I’ve learnt from photographers is that there’s more to the photo than me liking it! A good photographer can get that appeal to a huge audience. A good photographer can also get that appeal to the athlete. But an excellent photographer can do both.""I’ve spent hours and days doing set-up shots, looking nice in the air, but I want to see a real shot, something that shows me during a world cup final run, I want to see some passion in there, a facial expression or position on the bike that’s almost a mistake, something raw that gives a glimpse into my world. It’s a difficult shot to get as a photographer can either play safe and get the finish line shot or take the risk to get a mid-race run. But those are the shots the pay off – they give an incredible insight into what racing a mountain bike is all about."Stay tuned to redbullillume.com in the coming weeks as we introduce a sneak peek of the images submitted to Red Bull Illume 2016 and the incredible athletes who feature in them. For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.