Hello and thank you for visiting my site. My name is Chris Swinton and I am the UK and World’s only ‘official’ blind bikesport photographer, if it has two wheels and an engine then chances are I’ll be trying to take a picture of it.
I am extremely proud to say that in 2020 the A.C.U finally gave me permission to apply for media accreditation in the same way as my sighted colleagues and I was accepted at Anglesey as well as with the Preston & District Motorcycle Club and although the Anglesey pass sadly remained unused due to Covid-19 restrictions in September I finally fulfilled the dream and stepped onto the infield as an official signed on, insured motorsport photograher.
During what was a difficult and unusual year for everyone on the planet I 2020 in continued to feature in UK Clubsport magazine and I also featured in Camera Craft magazine which was a big thrill.
I can usually be found clicking away at Oulton Park, Donington Park, Darley Moor, Aintree, Trac Mon/Anglesey, Three Sisters, the Isle of Man and anywhere else I can get myself to.
A much needed change in personal circumstances in August 2020 means that 2021 will see me going solo most of the time and I am incredibly excited to get back track-side as I look to gain even more new experiences both in life and from behind the camera and hopefully inspiring a few people along the way.
Please feel free to spend some time reading the website content and see for yourselves what I have been up to over the last couple of years.
You can also learn more about the amazing charity partners that we will be trying to raise funds for over the coming year, Walthew House in Stockport and The Billy Redmayne Memorial Fund over on the Isle of Man. As you will discover Walthew House is my local sensory loss charity and being blind and partially deaf myself I have benefited personally from some of the amazing work the dedicated team do there and The Billy Redmayne Memorial Fund was established after Billy tragically lost his life while racing at Oliver’s Mount in 2016 and the BRMF’s aim now is to nurture and support up and coming road racers at the Manx GP, an event that Billy was victorious at twice, in the Newcomers race of 2014 and the Junior Manx a year later.
In the ‘Galleries’ section of the website you will find a collection titled Charities which contains many images taken by me at various circuits and that have been kindly signed by the featured rider, these images are available to purchase either framed or unframed and with all proceeds being split between these two very worthwhile causes, with your help we hope to raise a lot of money along the way. I will also be placing a percentage of all image sales to one side to present at the end of each race season.
Riders that have already helped include TT legend John McGuinness on the iconic Norton, Tommy Bridewell Andy Irwin, Richard Cooper, Glenn Irwin, Ben Currie, Luke Hedger, Joe Francis, Leon Jeacock, Christian Iddon, NW200 ace Alistair Seeley, current British Supersport champion Jack Kennedy, Mark Piper, Josh Daley, David Allingham, Kyle Ryde, Mark Goodings and the Worlds fastest road racer Peter Hickman. We will continue to try and add more names all the time as we go through the season but as you can see the response has already been superb and just goes to underline the long held belief that racing and those that race really DO like to give something back.
So, how did a blind man with no prior experience end up being a photographer?
Back in early 2015, I am sat with Kerry (soon to be Mrs Blind Photographer) in Mr. Ho’s office at the Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester going over what happens next and telling me something I already know.
While Kerry and Mr Ho are talking I’m sat looking out of the window, I can’t see anything – but I think it creates a nice mental image for you, and thinking “now what”?
Fast forward to June and I am perched in a bush just outside Milntown on the Isle of Man, about to take my first picture. I can hear the engine note in the distance as the first bike approaches, the sound is bouncing around in the trees making things even more alien to me but I know that this is my moment. You can’t take your first picture twice, and everything seems to slow down as the first machine comes barrelling out of the treeline.
My finger is poised over what is hopefully the correct button. I am ready, and when I think I have the bike where I want it I fire…
…and miss by a country mile, In fact, if I turned what happened that day into a book or calendar, the title would write itself: ‘Empty Roads of the Isle of Man’. But more importantly, I am utterly hooked and this slightly odd story begins.
Away from the camera life is busy at home as we welcomed our twin boys into the world in May 2018. Dexter and Cassian came into the world 10 weeks too soon and weighing just 3lbs each but after 9 exhausting weeks in the Neonatal unit at Stepping Hill Hospital and quite a few dramatic moments we finally brought them home and family life began at last for us, they are truly amazing little characters and have already visited Oulton, Darley, Aintree, Anglesey/Trac Mon and 3 Sisters and we are making plans to introduce them to the wonders of the Isle of Man and road racing as soon as possible.
I’m also a huge Rugby League fan and follow the mighty Swinton Lions (Obviously) whenever their games don’t clash with racing and every October we make the trip to Old Trafford for the Grand Final, I enjoy most sport generally speaking and my bucket list includes a visit to New Orleans to ‘see’ the Saints in action.
We also have 3 smelly, hairy associate family members or, if you prefer, dogs Lenny, Teddy and Buster who keep us equally busy as well as providing quite a few laughs along the way.
I am also an avid collector of tattoo’s and am the proud owner of the piece below that is my tribute not only to John but also to anyone that has every sat on the line and waited for the ‘tap’ on the shoulder.
I hope you enjoy the site and the story, you can keep up to date with things we are doing on this site and through our Facebook page. There is a contact page on the site so please feel free to do just that, I will happily answer all the questions you may have or just say hello. If you see my trackside the same applies come and say hello. Don’t wave, I wont see you!