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The Basement Tapes: Twila Federica Muzzi from Issue 104

Interview by Tim Schamber w/images from Twila Muzzi

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In issue 104, our 10th annual Photo Annual, we showcased 12 photographers and 1 collector that are at the top of their game in cycling photography. Here are the extended interviews from Peloton magazine: The Photo Annual.

Twila Federica Muzzi.

Twila Federica Muzzi
Czech Republic

In our last photo annual (issue 96, August 2020) you mentioned you got your start in 2017. It has now been four years. What are a few things you have learned since that time that have shaped your career and passion? Four years already? My whole life, my goal was to do a job that makes me happy, that makes me say, “I’m working but I’m having fun. I like it.” I didn’t want to be someone that is unhappy with their work and waits for the workday to end and go home. So that’s what I learned in these years: to always work and improve yourself in order to reach your goals. No matter how hard it can be. Never stop believing in yourself and your dream. And always, always keep learning from others; don’t envy them but learn from them. I never stopped believing in myself and my colleagues. I still amaze myself with my work as much as I’m amazed by the others. In a more practical way, I learned to organize and plan the races in a better way. I’m a freelancer, on my own, so it’s hard; but with the help of the others and a bit of these four years of experience, it’s getting better. This job is making me more independent. It’s making me face real life, that I have to deal with tons and tons of people from around the world; it’s a challenge and I like it. I love challenges.

Twila loves cyclocross, and she’s damn good at shooting it.

Photographing cyclocross is a real passion of yours. What is it about ’cross that inspires your art? I never thought that there would be one day where I’d say, “I love cyclocross more than road.” But here we are. I like them both but cyclocross is a totally different story. It keeps you on your toes. Everything, literally everything happens in an hour, you’re going full gas from one spot to another, looking for the perfect angle. As I said, I like challenges, I like to be full gas, to be kept on my toes because it keeps me alive. Yeah, if I have to say something about cyclocross in one sentence: “It keeps me alive.” Especially during those cold winter days.

You went from Milan back to the Czech Republic. Has it changed your photography perspective being back home? Not really. I might have gone back to the Czech Republic but whoever asks me “How’s in Czech going?” I say, “It’s going good. But I’m never home, I’m always around the world for a race or for a shooting.” The only thing that has changed, if we want to talk about “change,” is that I’d like to shoot other sport events. This year the cyclocross worlds will take place in the United States. The U.S. has always been a dream for me, so I’m taking this chance to get there and actually test the waters in other sports events.

What has been the most challenging aspect of taking sport photos during Covid? How to handle the stress. With this Covid situation, we all know the rules got tightened up. It was difficult to get to the team area and so satisfy what the client requested (such as behind the scenes with the team). It was hard to get to the finish line because organizers, following the Covid rules, had to give space to really few people and most of the time they were big media agencies. It also was stressing for the tests we had to do. In order to fly, to attend the race, to fly back, all of it. I’m not referring to the number of tests, but to the different testing rules we had to follow; each country you were flying from had a different rule. Same went for the race. For example, for La Course, in five days I took three tests—one antibody test to fly in; PCR [polymerase chain reaction) test for the race; an antibody or PCR to fly back. It’s a lot to handle and hard to plan because you have to be sure you get your results in time.

Recently you were with the Canyon-SRAM team at the Giro Donne. What was that like for you? When I first heard from them, I was shocked. Don’t get me wrong, I still get shocked and excited when I get requests from teams, brands and riders. It was a great experience for me to shoot these riders; it challenged me because I had to shoot new faces, get used to them and find them in the peloton.

“I can’t unsee this. I just pictured them coming from the dark and deep sea, approaching the beach…”

Take our readers through this image…. Movie scene: “Gladiator.” I can’t unsee this. I just pictured them coming from the dark and deep sea, approaching the beach, all fighting for the glory but just one will make it to the highest step. And watching this picture you wonder, who will it be? In a normal race environment you won’t get another photo like this one. This one was unreal and also a lucky one. There were a lot of photographers there; everyone has a similar photo. Whenever you go to a spot, you try to picture the lane the riders will take, I tried my luck. I was in the right spot at the right time. So, the riders seem to come from the sea!

Instagram: @twilcha

From issue 104. Buy it here.