George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is a literary leviathan. Based on the books, the Game of Thrones HBO TV series also has an enormous and dedicated fanbase. That fanbase includes Lorenz Holder, a 39-year-old Illume-winning action-sport photographer from Munich, Germany. “About three years ago, I was watching the first episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. I can still remember how it hit me when I saw that first location; what they call the Haunted Forest,” Holder recalls. “My mind just said, ‘Wow!’ The landscapes and the look of the world of Westeros were amazing to see. I was immediately inspired, and I knew I wanted to shoot there.”
Growing up close to the Bavarian mountains was an inspiration for Holder. A semi-pro snowboarder until a serious injury sidelined his trajectory, Holder discovered photography as an inspiring way to capture an entire scene, story, or day, in one small moment. After his introduction to Game of Thrones, Holder knew he wanted to juxtapose another passion, BMX biking, with the rustic beauty of Game of Thrones location scenes. The name “Riding Thrones” was a seamless choice for the project.
Part of the initial wave in the Storyteller Series, Riding Thrones is a powerful first step in a movement that hopes to redefine the way creators receive the resources they need to tell stories they otherwise couldn’t.
-f-stop Chief Marketing Officer, Jonny Zeller
Creative Agency Guild 26 and its Storyteller Series offered Holder the perfect vehicle to make his dream a reality. Guild 26 builds brand engagement and customer experience through transmedia and immersive campaigns. The Storyteller Series was created as a mixed media endowment program aimed to empower creative individuals to produce their passion project. There are no requirements, no restrictions, and no strings attached; just freedom to tell powerful stories with vision, passion, and soul.
Already a f-stop icon, this was the ultimate opportunity for Holder to enlist f-stop Chief Marketing Officer, Jonny Zeller, to executive-produce Riding Thrones. f-stop is a leading innovator in adventure camera carry with pack systems that are built for rugged wear, comfort, and modularity; this made it the obvious choice for a trek to Northern Ireland for the Riding Thrones shoot. “Part of the initial wave in the Storyteller Series, Riding Thrones is a powerful first step in a movement that hopes to redefine the way creators receive the resources they need to tell stories they otherwise couldn’t,” Zeller remarked.
Choosing Senad Grosic, two-time Red Bull BMX rider, to join him in Northern Ireland, Holder located some of the most memorable backdrops from the TV series. “Senad is a very funny, special character,” Holder muses. “When you’re on a longer trip, it’s so important that you have someone who keeps up the vibe in the group.” The two quickly realized that the beauty and challenge of Northern Ireland lay in the full-year’s range of weather that can be experienced in one day. “What’s really hard for Senad is to ride in this environment. He’s a BMX rider and his bike is made for the streets and parks,” Holder said.
The contrast captured between the real-world action of BMX and the ctional world of Game of Thrones’ Westeros is both stunning and surreal. “It was really important that the trick had an aesthetical match for the landscape where (Senad) performed,” Holder confessed, excited about the shoot’s outcome. “The picture turned out in the most perfect way; I visualized it and it came out exactly (the same).”
Lorenz Holder, Senad Grosic, and Jonny Zeller will start the Riding Thrones global series tour with exclusive events held in three countries.
♦ This article was originally published in Issue 21 of Face the Current Magazine, featured on pages 102-105. Order a print copy or subscribe to print at our SHOP.