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 http://www.motorbikewriter.com 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.