As a rule I like to go on a motorbike to photograph a motorbike but there are times when this isn’t viable. To be honest flecks of snow in the air thwart the enthusiasm slightly as does having to cover all bases with a wide selection of gear and the equipment list for this shoot included:
- The Leica bag
- The Peli full of Nikons
- The Bowens flash
- The ridiculous Manfrotto collection
- The old bike gear (great for grubbing round on the ground)
Really silly of me to forget:
- The Thermos
So, early start, daughter hurried off to school, a flyer up the motorway and why oh why did I stop for that low grade Crappuccino. The M50 was slower than I’d hoped for and the neat idea of printing the Google satellite image wasn’t really helping in this indeterminate season, I really couldn’t recognise the fields.
Vodafone oh Vodafone how useless thou art in Devon how redundant thou art in wherever I was stood this morning. Tech wasn’t helping and eventually the coffee was screaming so loud that I had to turn into Mythical Hackney Cab-driver and abuse the rear nearside of the Saab (modesty assured courtesy of the open rear passenger door). Full flow and a ‘Giles’ pulled up in a Jag. Seriously, this place was remote but the chappy needed instructions and I looked like a chappy in the know. Eventually the Giles glanced towards Brisbane (and chappy) and duly apologised.
Giles chose not to shake hands as he departed, wise.
Men don’t like asking for instructions but in the next village I betrayed menfolk and asked a woman who was taking her kids to be educated where RTS was. “Just down there” she said “the end of this road, it looks a bit like a house.” She was correct on both counts.
Many years had passed since I last met Ellis, he still has hair, I don’t. Great to meet him again, really great. A busy morning though, lots of people too including:
- The man who builds motorbikes
- The Glamorous Assistant
- The daughter of The Glamorous Assistant
- The man who had arrived from Melbourne to look at the bike
- The customer of the man who builds bikes
- The wife of the man who builds bike who makes delightful cakes
- The young French design student who had just ridden through the night from Paris
- The son of the man who builds bikes who builds bikes himself
No, I don’t remember names easily.
Ellis has created a new motorbike, I think this is a fantastic achievement. RTS Racing design and build grasstrack and speedway bikes, this is where the Mac is being developed. My commission was to photograph the bike. To be honest it was quite some time before I even got to see the bike but there was lots and lots to see in this location that looks a bit like a house in the country.
In an ideal world the remote location would have been a bit less busy, in an ideal world there would not have been snow in the air and in an ideal world there would have been a bit more ‘life’ in the light. This world is rarely ideal, however the part of the world that I was in had life in the air, was fun and full of interest.
This bike is a prototype, I was honoured to get the second ever ride on it, up the lane and back. Many of the bits that are on it will change and as it stands this is a bare-metal creation, no paint, no powder coating. This is an summation of the work to date and an expression of intent. All of this has a bearing on how the photography was to be approached. Little point in paying too much attention to details that may change, this shoot was about recording the form and creating a conduit for discussion.
This bike is Marmite, that’s how it was designed, it’s never going to be a me-too.
I cannot begin to explain the carpet, the lampshade or the al-fresco seating. I have no idea why this emerged from a blue Ford. I can’t show you the shots yet, hopefully they will appear from a screen, book or magazine near you soon. What I do know is that we are going to do it again and this is a good thing.