Meet Nathan Berry, a Memphis-based photographer who has a panache for bicycles.
Bicycles have featured predominately in Nathan’s work for some years, but my favourite series of his is the 2011Project Bike Love.
This particular series of 28 photos reflects my interest to record and celebrate community members and their bicycles. My #Bikes_CISTA (or Cycling Inter-Species Team of Awesomeness) features at a minimum one bike, one rider and one dog and they need to be spontaneous meetings in my local area. My series is on the grassroots and immediate end of the photo series spectrum.
What I like about Nathan’s series is that it has a similar approach in that it features locals with their bikes within the Memphis locale. However, Nathan’s shots are distinctly professional and beautifully reflect the polished and expert end of the curated bike/community photo spectrum.
Style, Simplicity & Authenticity
I like the simplicity and authenticity of this series. Simplicity in that the setting is visually additive without being distracting, and authentic as a few key props or clothing really helps frame the personal narrative of each subject without being overly manufactured.
I also appreciate the variety of people selected and the personality that comes through in each portrait. With only 28 participants, the subjects have been judiciously selected for their occupational, recreational or unique valuable perspectives, each of which is highlighted by a short description detail about rider, bike and context. The concise and precise blurbs are tantalising and engaging – just enough basic description to set the person, place and bike – but after that, the rest if up to the viewer to fill in the details for each story.
The diversity portrayed reflects life choices, lifestyles and just enough identity to glimpse contrasts and associations. It is an interesting choice to provide the job or current activity for each subject as a primary determinate – the juxtaposition between setting, owner and bike – very bikespirational.
The delicious smattering of occupational divisions (community work, hospitality, medicos, commerce, adventurers, even the Mayor, and others ) are a great way to showcase the people, vibrancy, multiplicity and possibilities of living in Memphis.
It gives a unique insight into the Memphis community that I would not otherwise have had. As an outsider, it also makes me curious about Memphis if this is the calibre and characters that live there.
I also love seeing the full range of bike genres represented and seeing what kind of person rides what kind of bike. Stylistically, I like that some of these shots are taken inside and that many of the shots are site-specific and purposefully mirror the individual and bike featured.
See more of Nathan’s work on bikes
So if your mood needs a little lift and you are up for some quality Memphis-based bicycle-inspired art, check out Nathan’s zenfolio, which includes other bicycle photo series such as The Memphis Bike Co.
Here is a small sample of what Project Bike Love entails – see the whole 28 photos here.