A short project-looking back...

Discussion in 'Competitions, Themes & Blogs' started by Wes Hall, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    Taking my time to learn how to use my camera(s) has been great fun, and resulted in moments of joy when I've captured an image more captivating than what I saw with my eyes, yet the spirit of the shot I'd framed.

    Since chatting and uploading on this forum I've had encouragement to explore more 'meaning' with my photography. I've been uncertain as to how best to present my images captured for this initial foray into showcasing a series of linked images, so I'm going to try showcasing the first image in the series, and follow up with the next if any dialogue is stimulated.

    I'm a motorcyclist, not a biker as many (including myself at times) will say, I've never known anything other than my time traveling under my own will via the many motorcycles I've owned and ridden. So, as you may imagine, I often end my day sat astride my bike and looking back on the days scenes through my wing mirrors, which has led to the idea of recording a series of images showing my final scene of the day before I head home. I wondered if they would lead me to see another view or reflect on the day that took place.

    Here was the scene from the end of the first day. Save the Trees.jpg
  2. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Mirror shots can be compelling, Wes. Why not continue this project?
    Wes Hall likes this.
  3. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    It's a good shot and nicely framed (both times). Did you move the bike to the right spot or was that just where you parked it?
  4. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    What a great idea, Wes. I too (and @Dave Farnes) was a motorcyclist for many, many years (I only learned to drive a car when I was 38!), but not for the last 20-odd years (I passed my last 2 bikes to a friend to restore and use).

    Anyway back to the picture. Not only is a great idea for a project, and a fine image, but I also like the ambiguity in it. Are you looking back at the last view of your journey or is there more meaning in the signs of demolition and possibly protest. There is also a nice contrast between the detailed and interesting rearward view and the 'boring' view in from of the mirror.
    Wes Hall likes this.
  5. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    Good evening all! Thanks for taking the time to comment and encourage me- I'll post the next in the sequence following this update- I've been a touch absent thanks to a recent trip and other commitments that kept me away- was nice to see so many alerts from others posts returning.

    Thanks Chris, it was just where I parked it following the end of that day- I've tried to not maneuver the bike in any of the shots bar one image, which I may discount from the project as I had to stage the position to get the image.

    Pete, that is uncannily similar to my situation- same age and learning (begrudgingly) to drive a car! Not to take this thread off on a tangent, but which bikes did you pass on? I imagine like myself you have a sizeable list of past two-wheeled loves.

    To answer your question (and a thought provoking one it is) I believe as the images progressed I began to see insight into my past and my current life, albeit not in order and potentially difficult to explain, but I will try. This first sequence was at the end of a rewarding day in my relatively new career move- the visible destruction is actually a little misleading as currently those trees will remain, although how long is difficult to predict. I see it as a reflection on the changes I've made in my life to get from a relatively complicated past to a stable present where I can look forward.

    I'll look to elaborate more as the conversation develops.

    Image 2:

    Last drop off forum.jpg
  6. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Interesting and intriguing. First to the latest image though and another one with a story. Is he being observed or walking away, and leaving you to contemplate the discussion?

    I started on old English bikes in about '76 (which is when I met @Dave Farnes - Capriolo 125 as I recall, Dave). My first was an AMC-engined Francis Barnett: a truly awful machine! Next was a BSA B40 with a 'sidecar' (as I hadn't passed my test: it was actually a wooden box on a chassis) followed by a BSA B31 with the same 'sidecar'. I then bought a proper sidecar (Watson Monaco), but changed bike before fitting it and it ended up on a Matchless G80S, but was later removed and I used the G80 as a solo machine for a few years: the Monaco was sold to a couple who had just had their first child and needed transport! It was supplemented by a Triumph Tiger Cub (I could change big end bearings quicker than most people could brew tea after a couple of years!). I changed the G80 for an AJS Model 31DL and then sold the Tiger Cub (for £35: what was I thinking?!). The AJS was completely original and that was one of the bikes I passed on having rebuilt the engine, but not the running gear etc. Prior to taking the AJS off the road I bought a BMW R90S (silver smoke) and put well over 100K on the clock before taking it off the road and buying a 1st generation BMW K100RS as a temporary replacement while I rebuild the engine on the R90. I used to commute 40 miles each way to work in heavy traffic and the K100 was the perfect bike for that (and long distances). The R90 was partially rebuilt, but the project stalled when I moved house and that also got given to my friend (he is supposed to be buying it, but we'll see!), who completed the rebuild / restoration. The K100 went off to have its output shaft rebuilt as I'd started my company and bought a car and so was only using it on odd occasions, but the person never got round to it as his wife became ill and it sort of vanished. It resurfaced about 15 years later when someone rebuilt it and wanted to register it (and found it was mine: I left it with him). For many years after stopping riding I didn't really miss it. I had spent so long using a bike to commute in all weather and often in heavy traffic that the pleasure had leached away. I get the occasional twinge now, but doubt I will go back.

    Well, you did ask!
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  7. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    I do like this one!
    It has a look of a covert photo taken through something. Is he an average 'middle of the road" person? Or maybe suicidal?!
  8. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    I believe the chap had decided to marvel at the moment of silence through a usually busy street- disappointment may have been strong in him ;)

    The story element Pete is hopefully a theme that will show through this project; This was for me a moment of transition- the final drop off of my partner to a temporary job, where had the job not been available I could easily have found myself feeling like one potential tale Chris suggested for the gentleman in the mirror.

    Your collection is certainly worth sharing! I won't mention more on the Tiger Cub pricing :eek:....your experience with some of the more historic Anglo-Saxon bike marques is counter to my own (my ownership choices revolve around Italian and Japanese...I was looking to use a linking historical reference here that I'm sure is in too poor taste to type!). I've often wondered about how a sidecar outfit would feel, but my partner has always steered me away from them on safety (hers) grounds ;).

    Aside from my (potentially odd) sense of humor, I resonate with your comments on all year commuting- it is loathsome, dangerous and isolating in the widest possible sense; yet I wouldn't change the sights, adventures and peaceful solitude I've gained over the years from it. There is little else I've found to emulate the experience of being from privileged stock than the rule bending that motorcycles offer as transport.

    Without sharing my entire list (I've owned 31 bikes at current count and ridden many more) this can lead nicely into the next image:

    And another thing.jpg
  9. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Image 2 is like looking through a peep hole. It's almost voyeuristic and the man in the road certainly seems mysterious. The next image is wonderful, with that disembodied face hovering off to the left in the darkness and gazing into the camera.
    Wes Hall likes this.
  10. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Pete I want to buy one or two of your Leicas on the same terms as your friend is buying your R90. I will send you my mailing address by private message. Thank you!
  11. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    Cheers Brian, this image was the final shot following a night of taking the main figure and his Southern cousin on a ride out to a local motorcycle meet- the main chap had just started to ride, and I had overestimated his comfort speed- I thought 50mph around open country roads was steady, but he needed 30! This image will very much be the typical feeling of 'looking back on fond memories'.

    This image was the partner to the 2nd shot- the final collection of my partner from the emergency work. Things were looking up.

    Last pick up forum.jpg
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  12. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    That's good Wes. I love the way the detail explodes out of the fuzzy confusion of the raindrops on the mirror.
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  13. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    Thank you Chris, I'm going to continue the uploads here after the break posting and continue the entries from the project. The rain drops were my strongest inspiration for the image what night- thoughts of washing away with the rain seemed appropriate.
    Chris Bennett likes this.
  14. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    I've been partial to red and pink hued skies as the sun sets for most of my life, and following on from the end of my nightly trips as work courier I had less reason to head out into the area at night. This was the end of a brief trip to the local cemetery where I enjoyed shooting my Sigma DP1. There's less meaning in this image than others from the project; I was simply looking back on the setting light over a city and area I've called my home for over a decade now.

    Setting On Lancaster Forum.jpg
  15. Chris Bennett

    Chris Bennett Well-Known Member

    That's nice Wes.
    It could almost look like a window (portal?) through the drystone wall. The sunset here tonight was fantastic - did you see it?
    Wes Hall likes this.
  16. Wes Hall

    Wes Hall Member

    I did and as you saw, happened to have a camera on me ;).

    It does rather fit with the wall's location, and required a bit of staging on my part (had to position the bike facing horizontal to the wall, glad for the long clear view of what was coming!).

    The following shot is the penultimate of this projects shots for me and the culmination of my minds state during the undertaking; I've been feeling nostalgic for locations I spent (and in the past-tense, resent) a great portion of time in thanks to work. This image has dual meaning to me when I reflect on it; it's a sight of the promenade in Blackpool, the town which claimed much of my youth; with both my parents having spend many years working in establishments on the front, so along with the themes of reflection it has led to me considering where I was and where I am now.

    I still feel so much like I'm strapped into a roller coaster; continuously looping around questions of my worth and existence...yet the station for the car to stop in has been taken away.
    I'm sure others will relate.
    Coasting Around the Bend.jpg

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