Crovanimaging - Neil Jones
A Manxman "living in exile" on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire; born in the north of the Isle of Man at Ballaugh; brought up in Braddan: Neil's mother's family originate from parishes at the very north of the Island, with a very long lineage, with some of the oldest Manx family names of Crowe and Quayle.
"My first early memories as a small boy were sitting on the wall overlooking the bridge at Ballaugh, long before the widening of the road on the exit. Later on I spent many hours sat in the churchyard and church grounds at Braddan Bridge watching the heroes of the likes of Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostine, Phil Read, and Mick Grant. I would sit on the cottage wall on the exit to the bridge measuring the distance between their helmets and the wall inches below him. (Mike Hailwood won being the closet and the most consistent on every lap.)"
Motor sport is very much in the blood of a lot of Manxman and women, so it comes as no surprise the TT has become the highlight of Neil's photographic year. They say to be a successful photographer you need to shoot what you know and have a passion for. The Isle of Man and TT fit exactly into this. His enthusiasm for the TT has not waned with age and is as strong now as when he was a lad.
Neil has shot images for the sports' section in the Isle Man, Gloucestershire and North of England newspapers over the last 5 years, featuring riders local to the area (see website page, Gloucestershire Riders).
Neil has invested heavily in learning and enhancing his skills in all forms of photography. Tracking and capturing bikes up to speeds of 200 mph is a skill and there are many photographers who shy away from it. Each photographer has his own unique strengths when it comes to shoot: Neil's strength lies in high speed action, extreme environments, environment portraiture, portable flash applications, in short boys and girls with their toys and not in weddings. Neil's commercial clients appreciate his style and approach. Neil's eye and creative mind is always scanning for the images that create some sort of emotional response in the viewer. In Neil's mind, a good image makes the viewer linger, survey the image in more detail and makes them ponder or question.
There are extreme highs and lows with the TT. It is an extremely dangerous sport, and the balance of life and death is ever present. There are times when this balance is tipped over: it is extremely difficult to cope with when there are fatalities, particularly with those that you know. For Neil knowing this risk, it is important to him to capture the best image of them doing what they love doing, not only as a record, but also images that capture something of the essence of the person and what they do as well.
In 2016 Ian Bell was one these unfortunate casualties.