The Man Who Shot The World: Axle Adams

The start of a jam in the Doll Factory.
A happy accident.
Georgia W. Tush nurses a broken collarbone.
Denver and Kansas City players at all angles.
Vicious Van GoGo jumps the apex for Madison
A Bay Area fan.
Carmen Getsome is lead jammer.
Cris Dobbins prepares to jam on the bank.

Jules Doyle — aka Axle Adams — has been capturing derby on film for longer than most skaters have been skating. 2013, alas, was his last behind the lens. We caught up with him to find out why he’s stopping, what his highlights were, and more. We also put together a gallery of a selection of some of his work from across the years. You can see all of it over on his Flickr page–and please, share your personal favorites with us in the comments.

Derbylife: Have you ever had any roles in derby other than photographer? Are you officially affiliated with any leagues, or have you been in the past?
Axle Adams: Other than “bench coaching” for Team Wicked Skatewear at Rollercon this year I’ve only been a photographer for teams. I was also the WFTDA Photo Liaison for Salem Playoffs and Champs. I’m the official photographer for Rat City.

DL: How long have you been shooting roller derby? How did you discover it?
AA: I went to my first derby bout in march of 2006 for my birthday. Rat City played in an old helicopter hangar a couple miles from home. The very next bout (April 29th, 2006), I brought my camera and shot nearly every Rat City bout since.

DL: What was the highlight of 2013 for you? And the lowest point?
AA: 2013 was kind of a blur. I think the side effect of knowingly winding down my career flattened out my feelings on many things derby.

DL: What was the highlight of your derby photography career?
AA: I would actually say shooting World Cup. The energy was so wonderful with skaters from all over the world competing together. No other time have I seen so many skaters just plain happy to be playing. Though a tie would be the first time holding my derby photo book [Editor’s note: That’s No Mercy: Roller Derby Life On The Track, which you can get here.] in my hands. It was so exciting to feel the product of 100’s of hours of obsessive work.

DL: What is the biggest challenge you overcame in the course of shooting roller derby?
AA: Honestly, just learning how to shoot it.

DL: Any interesting stats or facts you’d like to share with us?
AA: Well, I’ve shot derby for 8 seasons. That includes about 553 bouts, 98 mini-bouts, taking between 500 and 800 thousand derby photos, and collecting 483 derby buttons.

DL: How did you make the decision to retire from shooting derby? (You are still retiring, right? Any way we can talk you out of that?)
AA: Ha. Yup, I’m done actively shooting bouts. After all this time, it’s finally starting to feel like work. I decided early in the year that this would be my last.

DL: What are you going to miss most about the sport?
AA: Just getting that personal connection with so many amazing people from all over the world.

DL: Would you like to add anything else?
AA: Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has put up with my camera in their face and the refs who have put up with my quite loud trackside heckling.

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Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/

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About the Author

Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/



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