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WCN quicklink >>      What a week!      Liz Kreutz interview      eVelo cycling boutique opening     Tiffany Jane clothing launch

      

 

 

On this page >>    The Interview      A few words from Lance Armstrong      Photos

 

Liz Kreutz interview

The woman who is photographing the comeback to racing of Lance Armstrong

Liz Kreutz was in Adelaide for the first race at the Tour Down Under, in Lance Armstrong's comeback year. She was easy to pick whilst out on the road, wearing a bright pink moto helmet for protection whilst riding pillion and capturing images of the racing. Kreutz is amiable and entertaining, she's also a Texan and has known Lance Armstrong for about 15 years. 

The first race of the season was a shock to the system for everyone involved. The riders 'found' their legs and the photographers rediscovered the 'joy' of processing and uploading pictures until late in the evening. Kreutz was there too, amongst it, processing, posting, having a chat with fellow photographers and journalists in the oasis of calm which was the media centre once the frenzy of meeting initial post-stage deadlines had passed. 

Check out her documentary of the comeback on www.LizKreutz.com

 

The Interview

Liz is a independent photojournalist, specialising in sports photograph based in Austin , Texas , USA . Born and raised in Austin , she attended the University of Texas and studied photojournalism. She has travelled all around the world photographing Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Channel Cycling Team and now spends her time documenting the come back of Armstrong. Liz took time out before the final stage of the Tour Down Under to speak to WCN.  

WCN: Can you give us some back ground on you, the personal side?

EK I am from Austin , Texas , born and raised and a very proud Texan. Which of course, is Lance’s home town.  I am married to James Bonney who is a triathlete, so he is kind of in the cycling/triathlete family as well and does IronMans, so we travel around the world. It is really fun to be able to do my work while he’s working. Usually he is out front so I get to photograph him and it is really a special day when we can be together and work.

 

WCN: Do you specialise in any particular sport?

EK: I cover all sports and it is primarily what I do but I also do documentaries too. I try to show the personality of the sport with my own flavour on it.

 

WCN: How did you get involved with Lance and the Foundation?

EK: Lance and I were friends before he had cancer and then when he was diagnosed in October 1996, all his friends and his good friend John Korioth, had a Race for the Roses to raise money. I volunteered and really enjoyed being involved so when Lance formed the Foundation, his good friend John Korioth was the Director and CEO and they asked me to be the second employee. I did PR, fund raising, I was in charge of the Peloton project which kind of morphasised into the whole Livestrong big fund raising event. Now there are 80+ employees and I am still involved in the photography and it is special to be involved in that way. 

 

WCN: What will the photographs that you re taking be used for?

EK: First of all I am documenting the year, we are good friends, I used to be the Discovery Team photographer. I have travelled the world shot four Tour de France races, the Giro, Paris Roubaux, Flanders, Tour of California and Georgia, so I have been around cycling since 2004. So this year it was a surprise to me to be back shooting so much cycling. I was doing primarily the Beijing Olympics and all of Lance’s Cancer Foundation stuff and when he was doing the marathon, I shot him then. I am his photographer, I freelance with Lance, I’m not full time with him.  

We have a sports photography business in Austin where we do events and all kinds of stuff. This year my number one focus is to follow Lance and document the year. The pictures have already started appearing in print all over the world, La Gazetta, Velo, Velonews ran the cover of Lance last issue and there was a spread form him working out on the track in LA. They are just a few, the demand for media is just starting, it is pretty huge for Lance right now.  

What I a capturing is the personal side, the human side, he is just like me and you. He communicates with his kids on ‘I chat’. I took some shots of him doing that and cutting his hair. So just random stuff. I shot him working out in the gym, really showing the focus and the dedication he is putting in to this year. I want to show people that may have some doubts about how serious he is that he is really back. After this race too, people are seeing he is back and he is serious.

 

WCN: Will you follow Lance when he is at home as well as racing?

EK: I am basically on his schedule, where he goes I do, and luckily he is going back to see his kids, I can get back to see my husband, it works out good for both of us. I was happy to hear that in between the training camp and the Tour of California that we were coming back for a few days. I love to travel, I love it and I love different cultures and I love being on the back of a moto shooting. I am so lucky doing what I do. I love photography, I love travel, I love sports and Lance is a good friend so to be here is just a dream job for me.

 

WCN: As one of the few women photographers in the world doing this full time, in what is a very male dominated job, how do you find the working environment?

EK: Well, we are definitely the minority here, I feel the respect is there, you put in your time and you are out there just doing the job like the men, it is just like anything else. We are women and you just have to fight a bit, most of the photojournalists are great and respect the job we are doing and see the product we are putting out. They are very respectful and we are all friends that’s what makes it a great place to be. We are here to do a job and we help each other out, we are friendly and we see each other all over the world, it is a little community. The cycling world has it’s own community, the photographers are the same, it is fun to make friends and get to know people. It isn’t so glamorous when you are in the trenches, you have good days and bad days and it is nice to have people who understand what you are going through the same. I call it the circus.

 

WCN: Do you see a different reaction to you in different countries around the world?

EK:I am in a very special situation, I think people know that I am Lance Armstrong’s photographer and I do get other access. Some people might say ‘why is Liz behind the ropes,’ well I am Lance’s photographer. It makes sense, I respect everybody and I respect the position out on the road. I am doing a job and I have the same guidelines to live by that everyone else does. I respect that and we are all professional. At the same time I am with him before and after the races too. I am getting images that other people are not getting. I am getting exclusive access. Most people get it, it is what it is.”

WCN: When this year is done, are you going to take some time out for yourself?

EK: I thought I was going to take some time off after the Olympics. I told my husband after the four weeks in Beijing that I was stopping for a while, going to have a slower year and start having babies. Then two days later I got the call from Lance, I am so excited so babies will work into things somewhere. I am used to carrying lots of weigh around my waist [Liz pointed to the camera bags around her hips]. I will just put a baby on my hip. I took a photo of Honnie the TV camera woman who is 4 and a half months pregnant to my husband and I said, ‘see I can do it all’. I am very lucky and happy to be doing what I am doing, it is going to be a great year.

 

A few exclusive words from Lance

Despite the demands on his time, Lance Armstrong was happy to give WCN an exclusive few moments to talk about the work that Liz is doing for him and the Livestrong organisation.

Lance Armstrong: I don’t want to talk about her,” Lance joked. First of all she is like a sister to me, on a lot of levels she is a personal friend, a trusted ally and I think the key word there is right there, I trust her. She is not with me 24 hours a day but she is with me a lot. She is with my kids a lot and the team a lot and so I think it is cool to show, to give people an inside look into what it is like. In the past people have had this perception that I am this robotic athlete that didn’t do anything else and she brings that out of me and at the end of the day, when nobody is paying attention I am one of the biggest goofballers in the world and she is able to capture that better than most people.

 

Thank you to Liz and Lance for their time.

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