The main problems I’ve had when I’ve wanted to or been asked to take pictures of a bike are (1.) having to deal with less than ideal backgrounds (clutter and distractions, whether indoors or out) and (2.) getting the actual bike sharp in focus – I think something is slightly out of kilter with my autofocus, my lens or (just as likely) my ability to focus on the thin lines of the frame when obviously you have to take a picture of a whole bike from something of a distance to get it all in (another reason why I prefer detail pictures).
Today I went out with the express purpose of finding some better backgrounds against which to take some pictures of this gorgeous Giani Motta racing bike. The picture at the top turned out to be my favourite – the background is part of the hoarding around a building site, showing an architect’s model of how the finished “product” will look. I really liked the slightly disorientating effect of the juxtaposition of real and imaginary in a context that almost looks realistic but is visibly not quite so. The slightly bluish colour cast on the hoarding picture contrasted with the more natural tones of the foreground adds to this, I think.
What I was looking for originally was a simple bit of wall that would offer minimal distraction from the main subject. There were plenty of walls to be had, but it’s surprising what hazards abound in such contexts: wonky wall lines, straight wall lines but sloping ground, weeds, litter, cracks, you name it. The best wall I found was in the end this rather “imperfect” one shown below, with its graffiti and dead bits of creeper. I came to the conclusion that sometimes the search for perfection is futile.