NEWS: Commencal Media Crew: Chapter #1 - JB Liautard

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

If you follow our sport, you'll notice that Commencal leans heavily towards competition. In particular DH racing, the Formula 1 of MTB! This is the most demanding practice, not only for the rider, but, also on the gear and equipment. Through both performance and reliability, it's our way of developing the best bikes and proving it to the world.

In addition to the energy we devote to performance we also spend an enormous amount of time producing images. Throughout the year there’s loads of photo and video shoots going on all over the world. Sometimes product oriented, sometimes rider oriented. We are constantly posting content.

For several years now, in order to carry out these shoots, we have our own media department. Today it's made up of 4 artists. Artists who live the brand from the inside, who know our riders better than anyone and who participate in the genesis of the evolution of new bikes and new ranges.

We decided to take advantage of this period of relative calm to put a spotlight on their talents.

This first chapter is devoted to JB. Capable of making incredible videos too, photography remains his favourite field. Rewarded at RedBull Illume, winner of Photo of the Year on Pinkbike, his talent is undeniable. We asked him to select his 25 favourite shots from the last three years and to tell us the story behind each of them.

I've been working closely with Commencal for the last 3 years, travelling around the world to shoot new bikes, adventures and documenting some rider's lives. During these years, I took a countless number of photos and even narrowing them down to 25 was pretty hard. So here are my favourite images that I've shot during this time.

Rémi Thirion - La Palma

I took this photo during my first assignment for Commencal Bicycles on La Palma Island in 2016. We spent our first day there exploring the island as we didn't know anything about it. Luckily we had a guide and he told us there has been a huge forest fire in the area a few months before and the zone was still burnt to ashes. We decided to go there and scout the zone to see how it looked. The forest was totally burnt and black for most of it but some zones were covered with these orange needles. This was some kind of unexpected and surreal landscape, right in front of us! There wasn’t any trail in the forest so we had to find our own lines to shoot. I remember I put so much pressure on myself as I knew I had to take a good photo in this unique and ephemeral landscape but I had no idea about how to make it. I think Rémi did all the magic when he started riding this gully and scrubbing this little dome. I wanted to keep the natural color contrast of the area so I didn’t use any artificial light and we just waited for the sun to disappear behind the clouds to shoot.

Louis Hamilton - Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak might be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. We travelled to New Zealand to shoot the new edition of the Furious back in 2017. It was my first time there and the first thing we wanted to shoot was this hip, hidden somewhere on the side of Coronet Peak's famous trail near Queenstown. Louis flew from the North Island and he'd never hit this jump before, but the goal was to start the shoot at sunrise. We woke up really early and started roaming in the area with our headlamps to finally find this hip. We thought the struggle was over but after a few whips, Louis crashed and broke his saddle right before the sun peaked over the mountains. That was definitely not ideal and after 5 minutes of reflection, we headed back to the car thinking the day was over. On our way back, we crossed paths with 2 other guys going to the jump. They kindly accepted to lend us a saddle, and even if the tube was too small, we made it bigger with tape and finished our morning shoot thanks to these guys.

Cécile Ravanel - Tasmania

This was the worst shooting / riding day ever for a lot of people. In 2017, the second round of the EWS happened in Derby, Tasmania, and after ten days of perfect weather, the finals day might have been the worst in a long time. A big storm hit the area and it was pouring rain the whole day, until the very last stage. While I was trying to cover all my gear with my umbrella, I had the idea to use my flashes under the rain during the race run. I had to build the setup under the rain and ran to a tree in the middle of the track to hang my flashes together under a plastic bag. Luckily, everything went well and they didn't die. I waited for Cecile and took the photo while she was hiding the flashes in the background.

Yoann Barelli - Squamish

The Canadian west coast hides some of the most beautiful forest I've seen. But you know the reason why everything is so green if you've ever been there during fall, winter and spring. It's raining most of the time. I took this photo in Squamish in 2017 I think, we were coming back from a shooting day in the forest with Yoann and his dog, Jackson. This was shot just on the side of the shuttle road, just before we headed back home. British Columbia is really alive at this time of the year, salmon head up river and you can easily see hundreds of eagles fishing for them.

Rémi Thirion - La Palma

Forest fires are one of the worst things that can happen to nature, but amongst all their bad sides, they leave behind them a blank canvas. The colors are gone and ashes cover everything, which makes the zone really photogenic. I took this photo on La Palma Island, shooting for the new META V4.2 back i