Spartan Race prides itself on being a unique event on this planet. We don’t just say it, either. Our pictures capture the spirit of the race, the struggles and triumphs of our athletes, and the glory of race days. When it came to choosing a photographer for Spartan Races, we wanted something that was candid, dynamic, and representative of a race designed to make you suffer yet inspire you to overcome. Enter Brent Doscher from Nuvision Action Image.
Doscher shot our Vermont Race in 2010 and when it came time to interview people for a full-time photographer, it was an easy decision. Jason Jaksetic, Spartan’s Digital Marketing Director, said, “It was a matter of go big corporate or go for quality, unique, and enthusiastic…Brent made that easy for us to decide.” Brent’s work is visually stunning, and as an athlete himself, he understands the toil and he captures it brilliantly. “He kicks ass and we wouldn’t change him for the world. His artistic vision is more than we could hope for and he’s an integral part of the team. We consider him a Spartan,” says Jaksetic.
Talking with Brent, you realize immediately that he loves his job and that he loves taking pictures for Spartan. “I am a triathlete and a cyclist and a runner myself. I worked for all the big companies and thought we could capture something cooler. So, I though, why don’t I start a company and do all those better.”
Regarding the Spartan Race specifically, Doscher says, “The event is so unique – it’s such a different race. It’ not just a day in the mud – it’s challenging. From a photographer’s standpoint, it allows us to create some really interesting images. We can jump in there and get the camera right in their faces – it allows us to capture the dynamic of the race and the photos echo the nitty gritty atmosphere.”
NuVision Action Image started as Brent Doscher photography. Brent has been shooting sports since high school and working professionally since college. He got bored taking the same shots at races, the standard full body of the runner or cyclist. He realized that a bland action photo is tedious and simply uninteresting. He wanted to expand his horizons and make art play a larger role in sporting events. He wanted to freeze the action. He wanted his photographers to look at sports like an artistic photographer does. “There is no reason why you can’t use your artistic, creative side that is dynamic and different than anything you’ve seen in race photography,” says Doscher. “It’s knowing when to take the photo, when the moment is happening.”
Doscher admits that the gladiator pit is his favorite place to shoot. To anyone who has attended an event, watching athletes go through their last obstacle is highly entertaining, “It never ceases to amaze me when people think that leaving their feet is a good idea. The Spartan Gladiators go for the legs every time,” he jokes. Doscher goes for the wider angle lenses for that shot: “When you get someone flying towards the camera, it shines. It’s so dynamic and it completely highlights that athlete.”
Our photographer not only works with Spartan, he is a Spartan. At the recent Georgia race Doscher ran the entire course with the first wave, carrying his camera and taking pictures as he went. He gained an appreciation for the athletes he’d been shooting at the events. “I kept thinking to myself – how am I not done yet?” The Georgia course was challenging, but the venue was beautiful to photograph. Doscher admittedly had to walk a couple of times, “and I never walk!” he laughs. Carrying his heavy camera and shooting as he ran created some poignant pictures of the course and the athletes running. See below for a selection of his pictures taken on the run.
When Doscher saw the tall cargo climb ahead and knew he was almost done with the cours,e he was relieved. “I was glad I was done! It’s a fantastic event. There is no way to fully appreciate it until you run it. You can look at the articles and the photos and videos and they are really cool – they highlight what the race is, but looking at those single shots you can’t appreciate the whole race and what a challenge it is or understand the attraction and allure of it.”
As a photographer peering down a lens and an athlete running the course, Doscher can appreciate what Spartan Race is becoming in obstacle racing and bringing to athletes across the globe. One of Doscher’s Miami photographers said it best: “I’ve never had an assignment before where I’ve gotten to use every lens I own, but I did that today.”
His pictures capture the essence of the Spartan Race and the Spartan athletes. They are artistic and beautiful, compelling and dynamic, and give insight into the emotional and physical journey of the course for those brave enough to run it. “As a Spartan photographer,” says Doscher, “you are only limited by your imagination.”