Shooting cyclists

August 8th, 2016, 4pm

Amongst all the photos of things you take when you are away I like to have a project, and for this one I sit in a chair with a long lens to catch the people riding bikes across the canal from the flat. I tried this once before in winter, but the cyclists were muffled and dark, summer yields better results.

Now looking at hundreds of photos of people riding their bikes I have a crisis, is this voyeurism, intrusion?

In previous projects like Non siamo gondolieri in Venice, the faces are mostly water taxi drivers, professionally trying to catch the eye, or the kind of people who, by cruising along the grand canal in retro speedboats dressed for Fellini shoots, can’t complain at having their photo taken. Or Brighton Mods, a mobile museum/re-enactment/street festival.

But here they are private citizens, riding to work or to pick the kids up from school.

So I am thinking my final result may have to anonymise them, maybe a set of miniatures where the colour and outline of the riders define types, or play with focus in the same way, creating identifiable tropes but masking identity.

Over a couple of weeks it can become dangerously obsessive, hoping for a repeat ride-by from the ones who, just looking out of the window camera-less, you missed: the office trousers and shirt riding with his hands in his pockets, the elegant black clad pair of ladies with pearls off to dinner or the opera, the man balancing the impossible parcel.

So while I try to work out what to do, this guy seems fair game to share, out of the hundreds he stands out, so languid he is not so much riding the bike as leaning against it, propelled along the canal side by his own cool. A marker for my envy for how comfortable everyone in this nation is with the bike - the riders, the motorists, the city/street planners and a photographer happy to underline his photo with a clatter of tubes, saddles, saddle covers, panniers, bags, baskets and tyres.

Adrian, David Wade and Craig said thanks.

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Steve Dearden

Writer, producer and Director of The Writing Squad -

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