Free Riding

Photography Project that Captures the Essence of the Open Road

We’ve previously featured photographer Dean Bradshaw’s work on real-life craftsmen, and elderly basketball players. But today we take a look at something really close to his heart, Motorcycles.

“I’m intrigued by what they represent – freedom, Americana, counter culture, masculinity, and adventure,” explains Dean. “Those are themes that I’ve been interested in photographing and thus motorcycles were a natural progression in subject matter.”

Dean is himself a keen biker, favouring trail riding off road to explore the Southern states of the US. His travels have brought him into contact with many idiosyncratic people and subcultures, some of them more infamous than others.

“Meeting and photographing the Vagos biker gang was probably the biggest highlight – they are fascinating characters and very unique but they were friendly and interesting subjects.”

We took a ride with Dean to find out more:

The Plus: Why Motorcycles?
Dean Bradshaw:
I’m not so much interested in the machine on its own, although I do love the look and styling of the vintage bikes in particular – I’m more interested in what they represent and the characters who ride them.

TP: If you could ride just one motorcycle, what would it be?
If I had to choose, it’d likely be some kind of Scrambler or Enduro bike – something with off-road heritage that is equally home on the road as on the trail. I’m drawn to bikes as adventure machines, so going off road is high on the list. The newer triumph scramblers and BMW GS series are some recent favourites – otherwise one of the newer KTM enduros.

nev from catfish
TP: Is that Nev from Catfish we spy in one of the pictures?
Indeed. I did a shoot to raise money for breast cancer research at one of the local motorcycle events – held at Deus here in Venice. He came through and wanted a photo with his bike, it was a chance encounter. I met a lot of interesting characters that day.

TP: You’ve just come back from Mongolia, can you tell us about that and any future projects?
We were photographing the Mongolian horse culture, Mongolian wrestling, the Kazakh Eagle Hunters and the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle. I developed a fascination with Genghis Khan and Mongolian culture earlier in the year and the trip was a photographic exploration of that world. Currently, I’m working on multiple advertising and personal projects here in Los Angeles as well as post production on the images we just brought back from Mongolia.