Assessment notes — shoot list and other ideas

I have been trying to decide on an approach for this photo essay, as my focus is the social aspect of motorcycle clubs for older Australians, I find myself needing images that highlight age and friendship, but these are applicable to so many organisations that provide exactly the same thing.. how to set the Ulysses club apart??

My first outing after deciding on this approach was a 4 branch ride to Mount Macedon Cross, where a memorial service is held every year for members who have ridden on – the term given to those who have died, no matter what the cause.  This ride is organised by the Geelong branch and is very well attended, this year over 100 bikes despite freezing weather.  I hoped it would be a good chance to get some great shots.

I came away with about 100 images, some of which were just memories for me and for the clubs who attended.  I decided against using them because they aren’t applicable, and many were staged – members standing a little stiff in front of plaques etc, details of bikes that I really liked and wanted to show friends etc.  However, there were a few images that I hope will be suitable.

To be perfectly honest with myself, I NEED to update my shoot list.. create one that I can keep on me every time I see a group of bikes together and attempt to cross a few off.. so, thinking caps on…

Images highlighting age of members – old men in helmets?? walking sticks balanced on motorcycles??

Images of safety gear – it is obvious to me from just looking around, that older riders are FAR more likely to own all available safety gear and to use it consistently, it is almost impossible to see a rider over 50 in sneakers or shorts.

Images of close friends, perhaps embracing or shaking hands, with blurred bikes in the background??

Ride leaders giving pointers before the start to a group of riders, group shots will highlight the social aspect

Panned shots – these are great action shots which give a marvellous feeling of freedom.  I must check with my instructor to see if it’s acceptable to stage these, as otherwise they will be difficult to get.

I would love to get some images  of small stores in tiny country villages, many of whom can see a week’s profit in a few hours if a group of Ulyssians decide to stop for coffee or lunch.  I am trying to stay away from cliched images like a line of bikes outside a cafe, but in reality, that does tell this part of the story.. perhaps if I could get an angle overlooking a table with coffee and cake down to the line of bikes???

At least I have decided on my closing shot… I want to get a group of bikes (at least three) heading down a long straight road, hopefully hilly, shot from behind in golden hour light.. I KNOW I will have to stage this shot, but I could arrange to do it at the start or the end of a ride, there are some lovely roads like this on many of our regular ride routes.

Reading through this list, I am a little worried at the number of shots that may need to be styled to be effective. I have to talk to my instructor about this and see if I can get some pointers.  I will also look through images on the internet and in some publications to see if other inspiration strikes, it’s a lot more difficult than I thought to come up with a shot list.

I have also started rethinking permissions.  I explained at Mt Macedon what I was doing and hoping to achieve to several of the riders that I photographed, and one told me not to bother, it wouldn’t change the laws, and that older riders didn’t want that sort of attention.. hmm.. didn’t think I would come up against resistance, and I don’t know how to answer it.  Do I need to rethink my pitch to the riders?? if so, how can I word it to overcome that objection??

Text over images?? along with my essay, explaining why I chose this subject and what these photos mean to me and those in them, should I perhaps sprinkle in some quotes from places like who are quite active politically?? This isn’t a political essay, but I feel that pointing out that there are laws in the offing that will jeopardise this way of life could be a valid point.


Process Diary – Assessment 1, Work in Progress

I am looking to compare the negative media portrayal of motorcycle clubs, with the reality of the vast majority of motorcycle riders.

Who to target this at?? Ideally 30-50 year olds, who are seen as looking forward to the social aspect of retirement, and maybe even planning for it.  With the Ulyssians as my counter subject to the media hype and fear, many of that age group who ride will have heard of them.

To this end, I will need to start with a slide that is a collage of media images, overlayed with headlines, this will mean a LONG bibliography list!

I plan to counter that by taking images of my own.. images of charity rides, images of small towns benefiting economically from groups of motorcyclists visiting, not sure how to do that one, possibly a line of bikes outside a small cafe? – a smiling store owner handing a coffee over to a leather clad motorcyclist??

I want to include the absurdity of the new laws in various states, but how to do that in an image??

There needs to be some images of conservative motorcyclists, wearing correct safety gear, on fuel efficient scooters etc

Also needed will be a shot that epitomises the social aspect of motorcycle riding.


OPENING SHOT – to set the scene, but not tell the whole story

REVEAL – introduce characters

ENVIRONMENTAL – show characters and their relevance to the story – 2-3 images

DETAIL – use to add body to story , similes acceptable

MOMENT/ACTION – summarise the essay with a single shot

EFFECTS – consider using blur, flash or pan shots

CLOSING SHOT – end of story.

Written Essay

Can be quite personal, must explain reasoning behind the theme and should provide context



collage of media images (not mine, but credited), perhaps a Ulysses image on the right of the slide?


Social shot showing friendship, perhaps in riding gear with bikes in background?


old guy at Calcallo service station, too old to ride, but still goes to say hi.  Ride leader in cafe shoot, Image from charity ride with toys or disabled people that we help?


panned shot of bikes on road (rural background), two old clasped hands???


group shot of more than 3 bikes (that is number law affects) heading down a long road


I will need permission from the riders and charities and retailers that I photograph, and I will need to properly credit all media sources – I also need to reference the dates and times of all rides, and all quotes from those who give them.

I also need to research submission guidelines for the Big Issue, my intended publication

Insurance?? probably not an issue in this case, as I will be covered by CTP while on rides.

OHS – I have all appropriate safety gear and riding gear from being involved with motorcycles for so long


Some sources so far:

Hunter S Thompson quote “Hells Angels is a 100 carat headline”

Assessment 1 – Pitching Your Idea

Decide on a subject, your story angle and consider what magazine, newspaper or other media outlet might be interested to publish it.  Your story should be something you are interested in and which you have a passion for and wish to explore further. Whilst it is important you have the agreement and cooperation of your subject, you must present your story from your own subjective viewpoint and in the context of your proposed media audience.

My story is going to be how, despite the recent media sensationalist hype about bikie gangs, and the many new laws targeting them, many Australians are still enjoying motorcycle riding as a social and group activity, with a particular emphasis on the older Australians who are members of the  Ulysses club, the largest motorcycle riders club in Australia, whose membership is restricted to those aged over 40, and a vast majority of members are over the age of 60.

After much consideration and considerable research, I have decided to submit to the Big Issue as a lifestyle piece, focusing on the quality of social activities offered to older Australians through the Ulysses club, it’s activities, wide network of members, and their charity work for various organisations.

Research your proposed publication and its agenda and aesthetic. Who is its audience and how is photography used to communicate ideas?

The Big Issue are a not for profit based publication and independent publishin company, their ethic is to help the disadvantaged while providing a slightly irreverent view on culture, current affairs, lifestyle news and opinion.  It is edited by a Walkley award winning journalist and author.

The Big Issue is an Australia wide paper publication with a well established web presence, whose articles are mostly targeted at those interested current affairs and other social issues. Photographs are used in nearly all articles, with many having several supporting images to convey the relevant message of the author.

Write a persuasive pitch explaining why your proposed publication might be interested in publishing your story. Explain why it would be of interest to their readers and what knowledge, skills and access to your subject you have that makes you qualified to shoot it.

I believe that the Big Issue will appreciate the point of view of my essay, as quite often motorcycling is seen as a young person’s activity, and frequently, the valuable social activity aspect for older Austrlaians is not widely known.  I hope to present it in a way that shows the fun times and some of the Ulysses motto of ‘grow old disgracefully”. With an aging population, the social interaction needs of older Australians is quite topical and can create interesting discussions among a wide cross section of society.

Write down the feedback you have received from your photo editor/lecturer and how it has helped you refine your story idea.

During discussions in class, it came to my attention that not many people were aware of motorcycle clubs as a social entity, and only a small number aware of the laws that are currently being rushed through several states.  After reflection on the discussions held, I decided to change the focus of my story to the social aspect of the Ulysses club for older Australians, as opposed to the absurdity of the various laws that were discussed.  I also realized that I was unaware of my of the independent media producers in Australia, so further research was required in that regard.

By changing the focus of my story, and making it a much more positive piece about a popular leisure activity, I hope to broaden the appeal and to be able to create more compelling images.