Blood, Sweat and Glory – Peter Spurrier
Peter Spurrier has spent a lifetime photographing the beauty, power and sweat of rowing from sculling along gentle backwaters to the high drama of Olympic regattas. Through a major retrospective spanning his 30 year career, ‘Rowing Through the Lens – the Photography of Peter Spurrier’ looks at the iconic rowing photographs of one of the sport’s greatest chroniclers with a personal selection of his favourite shots.
His exceptional images, which have been published in newspapers and magazines internationally, are best known for the vivid power of the moments they capture, such as the intensity of concentration or nervousness on a rowers face, or candidly revealing the quirky rituals of athletes in the boathouse.
Exhibition highlights include images of:
• Steve Redgrave and Matt Pinsent shaking hands, shattered after narrowly winning Olympic gold in 1996.
• Iztok Cop surrounded by swimmers and Slovenian flags marking the birth of his nation after winning the single sculls on Lake Tampere, Finland, in 1995.
• Deaglan McEachern fighting to reclaim his oar after catching a crab during Cambridge’s pre Boat Race fixture in 2009.
His affinity for both rowing and photography started as a teenager, taking “snaps” as a hobby and rowing in his school’s rowing programme at the Chiswick Rowing Club and then later at the Quintin Boat Club.
It wasn’t until 1981 however that these two passions were combined during a chance encounter while photographing wildlife at Thorpe Water Park. The National Squad of Great Britain were training on the park’s secluded lake and provided a captivating subject for Spurrier, until he was challenged for spying on the team. However, the encounter led to an invitation aboard coach Mike Spracklen’s coaching launch, beginning his illustrious international career capturing the greats of the sport on film.
Chris Dodd, Exhibition Curator says: “Rowing holds particular challenges for a photographer. Its explosive action takes place over long distances on large pieces of water, often in difficult conditions. Spurrier’s sixth sense is his magic ingredient. He knows picking the correct spot is as crucial as calculating the exposure of or shutter speed. His images are more then just “action shots”. They cut beneath the surface to reveal the nuance and shade of these athletes’ emotions, and it is this empathy and insight that give his photographs such power.”
The exhibition runs until the 2 October in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery.