Recently I have started to take a serious look at industrial design in the form of motorcycles. My Ducati lives inside my studio with me and every day I admire the beauty of the lines and shapes that were used to create its distinctive look.
A few months ago I met a guy name Zach who has a 1996 Harley Electra Glide Classic that reminds me of my chromed out 1958 Buick I had driven back in high school.
I knew I wanted to photograph this Harley because of its distinctive design but a straight photograph wouldn’t capture the essence of the bike adequately.
To appreciate the bik you have to walk around it and see how the light reflects off of the surface. To make a photograph that expresses this experience I decided to paint with light.
Painting with light involves using long time exposures that allow me or my assistant to walk around the bike with a light source. With digital photography I am able to concentrate on each section of the bike in a different exposure and then composite the images together to create an image that really expresses the beauty of the design. I first experimented with my Ducati Scrambler to test the concept.
Last week I called Zach and brought down his Harley for me to photograph at my home studio. I made dozens of exposures ranging from 4 to 20 seconds each to essentially draw each line of the bike. I am particularly pleased with the outline of the rear luggage with the chrome rack on top.
Each of these painting with light images takes hours of time in post production editing the image. I enjoy the work because it really deepens my understanding of the bike design.
It’s almost as if the universe is paying attention to what I am thinking about and doing with my photography. Just this morning my news feed delivered this interesting video that goes in depth to exactly what I am appreciating about the aesthetics of motorcycle design.
It is my hope to translate the beauty of design into a photographic image that emphasizes the contour and shape of the motorcycle. This work has allowed me to expand my photographic painting style beyond botanicals into the industrial.
To complete this project I also made a photograph with Zach on the bike so that I could make this illustrative portrait for him. The concept behind this illustrative portrait was to acknowledge that the Harley Davidson bike is a distinctly American icon that is made in the U.S.A. To complete the image I drove approximately 100 miles round trip in the early morning hours to make a photograph of a barn I had seen with a large flag draped across the front a few weeks ago.