Bryan Helm, Forever Two Wheels: Motorcycle Counterculture Photography Exhibit

eatsleepride.com, July 20, 2021

Motorcycling is an alternative relationship with a personal machine that, like pop art, combines mass-production and handcraft. We -- as enthusiasts -- desire to experience all of it.

Rhett Rotten at Loreta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN 2017
Rhett Rotten at Loreta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN 2017
 

Looking at motorcycle counterculture documentary photography, I can’t help feeling it's impossible to underestimate the influence of the motorcycle in pop-culture. 

Where is the authenticity? Has it been appropriated? And by whom?

Has it become surreal? A mirror of itself and its celebrity?

Is it… the different kind of rebel, the icon of freedom, the daredevil, the American idol, the modern-day cowboy? All of it, or none of it?

You decide.

Jason Elam, at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Hurricane Mills TN 2017 racing his shovel head on the hillbilly track during the Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival TMMR
Jason Elam, at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Hurricane Mills TN 2017 racing his shovel head on the hillbilly track during the Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival TMMR
 
"I met Indian Larry in Sturgis. I had recently moved to NY and he told me to come by the shop and meet everyone."

Originally from Calgary, now based in New York, Bryan Helm is a real-deal motorcycle rider/photog who lives with one foot in advertising photography and the other in documentary photography.

Helm records motorcycle counterculture with his special powers of observation and his camera as the back-stage pass.  Originally, what started during a first motorcycle trip to Sturgis in 1998, this exhibit carries through the kid-in-the-candy-store view of motorcycle Americana, with special guests Indian Larry, Paul Cox, Billy Lane, and more, captured in their natural habitat: chrome, gas and leather.

Bryan Helm, Forever Two Wheels at The Cardinal Gallery July 22 - Aug 22, 2021
Bryan Helm, Forever Two Wheels at The Cardinal Gallery July 22 - Aug 22, 2021

Real and surreal visual strategies are layered in too: “Brian Ewing, is illustrating over two of my photos in his style”. Helms affectionately refers to Ewing as “the other Brian”, one of punk-rock music's most prolific poster-makers.

FTW: FOREVER TWO WHEELS Exhibit Poster: Billy Lane by Bryan Helm, Illustration by Brian Ewing
FTW: FOREVER TWO WHEELS Exhibit Poster: Billy Lane by Bryan Helm, Illustration by Brian Ewing

FTW- FOREVER TWO WHEELS: BRYAN HELM, runs July 22 - Aug 22, 2021 at The Cardinal, 1231 Davenport Road, Toronto as part of the Contact Photography Festival Exhibition. 

CONTACT opening reception is Saturday, July 24, 2021, 12 - 8 PM, Toronto. Artist will be in attendance.

 

 
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