A speed race event taking place without him wandering around shooting his camera is highly unlikely. Victor Barros, commonly known in the field as « Vic » or « Schwantz » built his name and portfolio, capturing the ephemeral: the speed, unloaded on track by riders of all ages, in the National Speed Championship circuits or at the most charismatic international championships such as Moto GP or WSBK.
A dozen years later, after piles of intense images, of twirls and spins, on and off the track, Victor is now a well-known name in national speed motorcycling. His talent is unique, genius and his art opens the door to a different perspective of making photography.
From an early age and surrounded by two wheels, Vic didn’t wait too long to try his dad’s motorcycle… it was love from the first ride!
“The world of motorcycles has always been present in my life. My father used to ride a motorcycle…a fantastic gray Carina…my first crush…as soon as I got my feet to touch the ground I started to ride it …. without having him knowing it! «
At the age of 18, he bought his first motorcycle.
“In high school I decided to start working to buy my first motorcycle! Surprisingly, at my first job I was lucky enough to ride a motorcycle, a Yamaha DT 50 Lc. I continued to raise money and at 18 I was able to buy my first one – the Cagiva Prima 50 – and this is when my passion for Italian motorcycles began, especially for Cagiva. ”
The « race is long » and this would be just the start.
In 1993, he buys the motorcycle that would bring him closer to competitive motorcycling and that would change his course.
“In 1993 I bought the Cagiva Mito 125, a replica of Eddie Lawson – my dream – and then my passion for racing begins…that same year, I made my first race at the 125 Nationals.“
Being from an early age a racing enthusiast, Vic always followed all kinds of National and International championships and at the same time, did some trackdays.
In 2006, in one of those trackdays, he decided to take his camera as a friend’s prank. The result was so unexpected that everyone started to ask him to repeat. It was something that gave him great satisfaction and at the same time allowed him to stay close to his world, the world of motorcycles.
It is from 2006 onwards that he begins to take the first steps towards turning his passion into a career.
“I decided to invest in some photographic material and there was the beginning of Vic Schwantz as a photographer; I went from the inside to the outside of the tracks to shoot.”
In 2007 he starts shooting, making his debut at the National Speed Championship, in Braga.
After only one month, he was already working for a motorcycling magazine and from then on it was growth all over!”
“I have always been different, as I try to do what I wish they had done to me as a pilot; I try to be innovative in race photography, where almost everything is the same; that’s what motivates and drives me.”
More and more inside the motorcycle environment, Vic photographs the track, the riders and everything around the world of racing speed. He starts shooting not only in Portugal, but also in the most prestigious international championships such as WSBK or MotoGP.
“Still in 2007, I make my first trip out of the country as photographer to shoot the World Superbike Championship in Brands Hatch – England. It was the beginning of many trips around the world shooting both Superbikes and MotoGP races. ”
Twelve years are not twelve months. Vic is proud of it. After kilometers of photographed circuits and traveled motorways, for each competition. And of course, all for the sake of his favorite sport.
In between, he had the pleasure of getting to know big names in motorcycle racing such as Kevin Schwantz, Valentino Rossi, Marc Márquez or the privilege of photographing Miguel Oliveira, the first Portuguese rider to reach MotoGP, but also sadly saying goodbye to some great riders, such as the beloved Luís Carreira.
“Growing to be a better motorcycle photographer is not an easy task but the motto is to never give up and overcome all obstacles to never lose the love for this sport. Currently, I am a motorcycle, action sports and concert photographer. In motorcycling, I am a photographer of several professional pilots and the official photographer of the Iberian Zcup trophy and NEXX Helmets! “
But how does Vic see this new generation of professional riders?
“In these 12 years that I have been photographing I have seen the many championships from the inside and I feel that each passing year all is getting better and more competitive and the proof of this is the number of young riders and nationalities competing in the major international events. I’m excited about the future of this great sport. “
Wrapping it up, he spoke us about his bikes and his latest restoration works.
“My passion for motorcycles and especially the Italian is so big that I have restored three of the 125 that impacted my life the most: Cagiva Mito Lawson, Gilera SP01 and Aprilia AF1 Replica; It’s a long job but done with lots of love… as a daily motorcycle, I ride my KTM Superduke 990.”
Photography: All rights reserved copyright © Victor Barros