As a group of avid bike enthusiasts, there’s little we like more than seeing other people love their bikes. This collection of portraits South Africans with their bikes photographed by Stan Englebrecht and Nic Grobler by is available in a kickstarter funded book, unsurprisingly called “Bicycle Portraits.”
The whole project is an amazing union of laudable action, cool concept and beautiful execution. Each portrait seems more striking than the last. The little watercolor renderings of google maps (by South African artist Gabrielle Raaff) show the diversity of landscapes traversed by the pair as they collected their images. Feast your eyes.
Here’s the description of their project goals from their website:
“As you’ll see we haven’t been photographing people who ride purely for exercise or recreation, but instead we’ve focussed on those who use bicycles as an integral tool in their day-to-day existence. We’ve noticed that in South Africa, especially in the major centers, very few people use bicycles as mode of transport. This is very strange since we have no proper public transport infrastructure, and that which does exist is expensive and unsafe. Given all the benefits of cycling – independence, fitness, cost-effectiveness, environmentally friendly – we would love to encourage the use of bicycles in South Africa amongst all social classes.
“We’ve noticed that as our major centers develop there still seems to be a trend to make cities more friendly for cars, not people. While this might be happening in many places around the world the effect on individuals seems to be very dramatic in a country like South Africa, where there is a growing divide between those who can afford motorized transport and those who struggle to. Owning a bicycle in this social climate can be very empowering, if the correct infrastructure exists.
“As you might know, South Africa is a world within one country, home to various cultures, with a tragic history of segregation and racism. Through this project we wish to give people a glimpse into each other lives through a well known object of movement, practicality and joy – the bicycle. Looking at individuals through their, sometimes unconscious, involvement in bicycle culture, we have inadvertently touched on many charged issues like the implementation of public space, lack of infrastructure development and also social problems like class division and unequal wealth distribution, but still we hope perhaps to bring those unfamiliar to each other together in their love for a simple thing…”
Here are the photographers with their bikes: