I tend to shoot a lot of photos of bicycles. Some of my best times as a kid in Detroit were on my bike. And as an adult I’ve continued my love of cycling. (You’ll never see me in Spandex racing clothes, though; I tend to ride a big cruiser bike at a pretty leisurely pace.)
This image was shot with a Canon AE-1 35mm film camera on slide film. It was one of the first images I shot specifically to create a Polaroid transfer from.
I was on a “photo safari,” walking around the neighborhood with no particular goal in mind; just looking for anything interesting. I saw this bike leaning against a house, covered with plastic to protect it from the elements. The plastic had long ago been blown halfway off, and other unused items had been stacked around it.
The scene gave me a feeling of nostalgia or melancholy. Someone had stored this bike, and cared enough to try to protect it by covering it, but then forgot all about it, like leaving childhood behind.
I took only one shot. Remember, before digital cameras, film could get expensive really quickly, so I never shot more than I thought I needed to. It’s a simple composition, but I felt the story was all in that frame. When I saw the developed slide, I was happy with it and couldn’t wait to see what the Polaroid transfer image would look like. There are multiple methods for creating Polaroid transfers. The most common method is to use wet watercolor paper as the receiver but I used dry linen finished printer’s paper, which gave a sharper look to the image. The linen texture emulates the look of canvas.
One of the things that attracts me to the Polaroid transfer process is its unpredictability. The emulsion never releases perfectly, resulting in ragged areas. Adding a little bit of chaos to the process is a good thing. I often think the finished image looks like a cross between a watercolor and a photograph that’s been left out in the rain.
The original image size is about 3.25 x 4.25 inches. That image is scanned, then enlarged and printed on 13 x 19 inch museum quality matte finish cotton paper. This is mounted and matted to 20 x 24 inches, using archival materials and methods, ready to frame.
It’s available in the shop at this link.