Harleys, Flags, and Patriots

I suppose I’ll always have a soft spot for motorcycles.  My grandmother was pretty in to them.  When she and my grandfather were newly married he had one.  They used to ride all over Sturgis, KY, young love and free on his bike.  I saw the nostalgia for those days late in her life.  I remember one Thanksgiving, someone’s boyfriend or friend, or maybe it was just some guy coming down the street, had a bike and took Gandy (what her grandchildren called her) for a ride.  Watching the joy in her face, you could see that in that moment she’d transitioned from Gandy to Mary Ellen on the back of Jack’s bike in her early twenties in Kentucky rather than a grandmother in Midtown Atlanta.

My dad rides as well, he spent the better part of his life watching his younger brother be the one on a bike until he finally got one about six years ago.  My stepmother and I often joke that he loves nothing more than that bike, it might be true.  

Alfred Werthheimer introduced me to the concept of motorcycles in photography with that classic shot of Elvis Presley when he was 21 years old astride his Harley in his driveway in Memphis.  That classic shot of that man on that bike made me fall in love with the image of the classically handsome man on a Harley in a photograph.

I’ve recently noticed a pattern in my non music photography, I really enjoy photographing the American flag.  I don’t know why, but the pattern is consistent.  I have almost fifteen years of photography related to different versions of the star spangled banner.  I consider myself a patriot, I love this country, I love what we are supposed to stand for, I love our history, and I love our foundation.  Perhaps it is that love which makes me gravitate toward the flag.  

Speaking of American flags, motorcycles, and patriotism; I recently photographed my friend Pfc Cristian Sanchez on his bike while he was home on leave.  Cristian was both newly and safely returned from Afghanistan and I couldn’t have been more grateful to see his face while he was here.  I much prefer taking his photo on a bike to sending him care packages in a war.  

It was a lot of fun and recalled the moments in my mind mentioned above.  I hope you enjoy the shots of him as well.

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  1. austenrisolvato posted this