"The American motorbike scene in the UK is an interesting one. Wind back 20 years and it would’ve just been your local bike club that was rocking the two wheels. You’d spot them a mile off with their leather "
Man and Boy
Have a look through your old family photo albums. We bet that there will be at least one picture of a father, son, uncle or brother bestride a motorbike.
It might not be a particularly interesting machine. The lighting may be bad and the print quality lamentable. There may not be an apparent reason for the photograph at all. That’s because of course, that the motorbike itself is the reason for the snap.
If you were a cultural anthropologist, you’d see motorbikes as transitional objects – totems in the rite of passage between boyhood and manhood – and the pictures consequently and iconic celebration of this sacred and arcane transition.
If you were a Freudian analyst on the other hand, you might be tempted to see motorbikes as a way to escape the tyrannical influence of the father whilst simultaneously impressing the mother with new-found manliness. The photographs in this instance would of course be seen as attempts to document that rebellion – a way to place a clear mechanical gap between the man and the boy – creating a tangible weigh-station to manhood.
Often, of course, a love of motorbikes is where man and boy, father and son become one. They are encapsulations of all that is exploratory, thrill-seeking, devil-may-care, of being human. Though the years and circumstance may wring these things out of the lives of many men, motorbikes keep alive that restless creativity that makes life worth living.
These pictures are celebrations of kinesis, icons of potential, and they are where the passion for movement felt in every human being are realised in metals rubber and plastics. And it shall always be so. Make sure you document your machine.
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