Artist Spotlight | Chris Tedesco
In the world of action sports and motocross, Chris Tedesco is known as one of the best photographers in the business. His story to where he is at today isn’t one of chance encounters and networking, though, but rather hard work, determination, and skill. Since picking up a camera when he was a kid, the New Jersey native knew that he wanted to snap pictures for a living, and everything he has done since has been focused on achieving his dreams. With thousands of photos in his archive that spans over 10 years, we asked him a few questions about his chosen art form and career, and also had him choose some of his favorite pictures.
How did you get started in photography and how long have you been a photographer?
I got serious with photography when I was 14 years old with my mom’s Olympus film camera. Two years later, I switched to digital. I’d take photos between my motos and ran my own website called MotoXCental.com. I also sold prints locally at District 6 racetracks to earn some money. From there, I went to local Pro Arenacross, Freestyle, and Outdoor Nationals to start networking. In 2000—when I was 16 years old—I had my first photo published internationally, as a 2-page spread, of Carey Hart’s first back flip in Moto Verte. That was when I knew photography didn’t have to just be a dream. With the support of my family, working after school, and earning what I could as a freelancer, I was able to save enough to give me a chance at making my dream a reality. I took a semester off from college, drove from New Jersey to California to shoot the West Coast Supercross rounds in 2006 and never looked back. This year marks my 10th year as a full-time photographer. It was a risky decision at first, and certainly wasn’t a conventional approach to making a living, but I’ve never heard of anyone following the norm and turning a dream into a reality. I’m very grateful and appreciative to all those that have helped me along the way.
What’s your biggest challenge as a professional photographer?
One of the biggest challenges is the competitive nature of the business. Equipment isn’t getting any cheaper, but fair paying rates seem to be harder and harder to come by. And being gone from your family and loved ones due to lots of travel isn’t easy. It takes a strong support system behind the scenes to make everything work.
What do you enjoy shooting the most?
First and foremost, I love shooting live action because you usually only get one chance. I’m addicted to things that go fast and are borderline dangerous. It always seems to make for a great photo. After that would be landscape. The best is when I get to combine the two.
What’s your favorite aspect of photography?
My favorite aspect is that you are literally capturing a moment in time for others to later view and experience. It’s something special to be able to share your own interpretation of a moment in time. Getting to travel to breathtaking places with great people to photograph dirt bikes and cars is an amazing aspect about it too.
Where has photography taken you?
Photography has taken me to some pretty amazing and beautiful places such as Austria, Germany, Holland, Canada, Puerto Rico and Baja. I also can’t forget all of the amazing locations in the U.S.A. America has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. I am very grateful and fortunate for where photography has taken me.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
That is a tough one to say. Forgive me if I ramble a bit here. Getting approved for a vest to shoot on the SX floor for the first time was a validating moment. Then to get my first Racer X cover of my childhood hero Jeremy McGrath after my fourth time shooting on the SX floor was special. Getting selected into Red Bull’s photography internship program in Austria was a very proud moment. To earn Red Bull Photofiles camera bags and jackets was special because that stuff couldn't be bought. Getting to work in the auto industry has been really amazing too. I look forward to what's next.