The Long Road: An interview with Neil Shearer Photography

By Laura Nesbitt, Features Editor (

Introducing Photographer Neil Shearer who tells us his story about a recent project…

The Long Road is a concept of mine that was started in 2019 the year before the Tokyo Olympics were due to start. The project ran right up to the start of lockdown and then with the news of the postponement of the games, everything got put on hold. I intend to continue this project at the earliest opportunity once things return to normal.

Laurie Williams – Wheelchair Basketball

“People ask what’s my why? I think the biggest why for me at the moment is changing history. I want to be part of the first GB Women’s team to get a Paralympic medal…I don’t want to stop until I know I’ve done everything to be the best and help the team to be the best they can be.”

Laurie Williams

The aim was to introduce and document athletes who are grinding everyday to earn their place on the plane and qualify for either Tokyo 2020 or Beijing 2022. Most of the athletes documented in this project started their journey in the weeks following the conclusion of the last games, hence the title. Each, have their own long road to travel.

Kim Murray – Skeleton

“I am motivated by doing extraordinary things; maybe lifting a PB in the gym or travelling headfirst at 130 kph on ice. Going to the Olympics is one of those extraordinary things that I’ve always wanted to do. I also want to grow my voice and being a successful athlete is a means to do this. With a voice and platform I can inspire children to chase their dreams and be an advocate for things away from sport that I am passionate about such as caring for our world and living consciously.”

Kim Murray – Skeleton Athlete

The style of this project is dark and dramatic portraiture. This is based on the paintings of classic Dutch artists like Rembrandt, but with a modern twist. I’ve always been fascinated by the use of light and shadow in Rembrandt’s work and so wanted to try my hand at recreating it. I’m a huge believer in the power of personal work. I aim to shoot one personal project every year. So far, each project has led onto paid commercial work. And with any personal project, you must have an ultimate aim or an end target, otherwise you could easily lose your way. So to lay my cards on the table, this project has several aims for me.

Farell Treacy – Olympic Speed Skater

“What motivates me most? Honestly, there is no better feeling than winning a race!  Day to day what motivates me most is the fear of losing…”

Farell Treacy – Olympic Speed Skater

Firstly, I want to use it to get out there, meet and shoot new, interesting people. Working for yourself can sometimes be a lonely affair especially when most correspondence is done via email, so travelling the country, seeing new places and shooting some awesome athletes is more than a worthy aim I think!

Secondly, I want to use it as a networking tool. I would love to go to the Tokyo Olympics to document the athletes, and if this project can get my work seen by someone that can help make that happen, then all the better! So far I’ve met some incredible people and heard some amazing stories. For me this is the best part of my job, meeting interesting people and being able to share their stories and document their efforts.

Joe Choong – Modern Pentathlon World Cup Winner

“I’ve always wanted to to be able to say I’m the best in the World at something. Not every training session is super gruelling and tough, but when they are and my body it hating itself, this is the reason I have at the back of my mind to keep going. And this is what gives me my competitive edge to be the best I can be.” 

Joe Choong – Modern Pentathlon World Cup Winner

Stay connected with Neil via…

Instagram @neilshearer_photography


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