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Galeria Bessa Pereira Design: Lisbon

Saw this yesterday, returned today with the Leica, lovely people, very welcoming. Galeria Bessa Pereira Design.

A new space dedicated to 20th century post-war design opens in Lisbon: Galeria Bessa Pereira – 20th Century Design. Located between Chiado and Bairro Alto, on Rua Luz Soriano, the gallery presents furniture and interior architecture by renowned Portuguese and international designers from the mid-century period. To inaugurate this new space, the gallery presents the exhibition José Espinho: Diversity in the Making. The opening is 5 April, and will run through 6 June 2013.

Mac the Life

As a rule I like to go on a motorbike to photograph a motorbike but there are times when this isn’t viable. To be honest flecks of snow in the air thwart the enthusiasm slightly as does having to cover all bases with a wide selection of gear and the equipment list for this shoot included:

  • The Leica bag
  • The Peli full of Nikons
  • The Bowens flash
  • The ridiculous Manfrotto collection
  • The old bike gear (great for grubbing round on the ground)

Really silly of me to forget:

  • The Thermos

So, early start, daughter hurried off to school, a flyer up the motorway and why oh why did I stop for that low grade Crappuccino. The M50 was slower than I’d hoped for and the neat idea of printing the Google satellite image wasn’t really helping in this indeterminate season, I really couldn’t recognise the fields.

Vodafone oh Vodafone how useless thou art in Devon how redundant thou art in wherever I was stood this morning. Tech wasn’t helping and eventually the coffee was screaming so loud that I had to turn into Mythical Hackney Cab-driver and abuse the rear nearside of the Saab (modesty assured courtesy of the open rear passenger door). Full flow and a ‘Giles’ pulled up in a Jag. Seriously, this place was remote but the chappy needed instructions and I looked like a chappy in the know. Eventually the Giles glanced towards Brisbane (and chappy) and duly apologised.

Giles chose not to shake hands as he departed, wise.

Men don’t like asking for instructions but in the next village I betrayed menfolk and asked a woman who was taking her kids to be educated where RTS was. “Just down there” she said “the end of this road, it looks a bit like a house.” She was correct on both counts.

Many years had passed since I last met Ellis, he still has hair, I don’t. Great to meet him again, really great. A busy morning though, lots of people too including:

  • Ellis
  • The man who builds motorbikes
  • The Glamorous Assistant
  • The daughter of The Glamorous Assistant
  • The man who had arrived from Melbourne to look at the bike
  • The customer of the man who builds bikes
  • The wife of the man who builds bike who makes delightful cakes

and latterly:

  • The young French design student who had just ridden through the night from Paris
  • The son of the man who builds bikes who builds bikes himself

No, I don’t remember names easily.

Ellis has created a new motorbike, I think this is a fantastic achievement. RTS Racing design and build grasstrack and speedway bikes, this is where the Mac is being developed. My commission was to photograph the bike. To be honest it was quite some time before I even got to see the bike but there was lots and lots to see in this location that looks a bit like a house in the country.

In an ideal world the remote location would have been a bit less busy, in an ideal world there would not have been snow in the air and in an ideal world there would have been a bit more ‘life’ in the light. This world is rarely ideal, however the part of the world that I was in had life in the air, was fun and full of interest.

This bike is a prototype, I was honoured to get the second ever ride on it, up the lane and back. Many of the bits that are on it will change and as it stands this is a bare-metal creation, no paint, no powder coating. This is an summation of the work to date and an expression of intent. All of this has a bearing on how the photography was to be approached. Little point in paying too much attention to details that may change, this shoot was about recording the form and creating a conduit for discussion.

This bike is Marmite, that’s how it was designed, it’s never going to be a me-too.

I cannot begin to explain the carpet, the lampshade or the al-fresco seating. I have no idea why this emerged from a blue Ford. I can’t show you the shots yet, hopefully they will appear from a screen, book or magazine near you soon. What I do know is that we are going to do it again and this is a good thing.

Brand, What’s in a Name?

There is a case for suggesting that the Leica M9 isn’t the tool for shooting motor-sport, I would agree. One might also suggest that driving a Lancia 037 (Versione Stradale) from Twickenham to the Wiscombe Hill Climb, taking part and then (presumably) returning home isn’t sensible. Robert Wadsworth assured me that he had to drive the car to the meeting because he ‘didn’t have a trailer’, this all seems perfectly reasonable.

Can I make it clear, I love old Lancias but don’t look at the current Lancia website full of re-badged Chryslers unless you want to cry. There is something about the old ones though. I drive a Saab and briefly Saabs were re-badged as Chryslers, in fact Lancias were re-badged as Saabs too after the ‘engine falling out issue’, but I would never try to link the Saab experience to the Lancia one.

Now, I must admit I had noticed the two young men with their lovely long lenses. I was even briefly perplexed by one who had both Nikon and Canon gear in his bag, that’s just not right is it? What I hadn’t realised was that they had noticed me, well to be fair I was probably stood in their way and actually it was the M9 that they had noticed. I had ridden to the meeting on the BMW and the Leica works really well, fits in the top-box, no need for a trailer.

While we were talking nonsense about cameras I was aware of Sir Blighty-Tweed walking past me, barking “Aha, BMW, by the people who brought us Auschwitz!”. I assumed he was addressing the chap cruising up the hill in his old 3-series, but then I looked at the logo on shoulder of my, err, BMW Rallye-3 jacket.

Probably best not to mention the Leica then?

Photographing Training Sessions

No reason for this other than to remind myself that it doesn’t rain every day.

Another day photographing training sessions, an email while I was working asking me if I had something suitable for the front page. Oh, and a quick (soft) drink before the drive back to the Lightroom. This was the view.

Reminder set.

BMW Cafe Racers, Uli Cloesen

Some time ago Uli Cloesen contacted us from New Zealand about using some of our shots of Kevil’s Ruby BMW café racer in his new book. The bike was only around for a short while before going off to it’s new home in Poland. Well it’s been a long but worthwhile wait, the book is out.

This is what WH Smith says,

Many books have been published about BMW motorcycles, but this is the first to cover the evolution of the BMW sportsbike to the BMW cafe racer. A marque not commonly associated with the cafe racer scene, the growing trend of custom BMW cafe conversions is illustrated in detail with stunning images of sporting, racing, and ‘cafed’ BMWs. From Airheads to Oilheads, modified singles to parallel twins, Fours and Concept 6s – see the ‘cafed’ side of BMW.

I say there’s some neat bikes very neat bikes indeed.

OK, so weren’t the quickest to deliver but hey, Uli told me it was the cheapest place to get it so here you go, it’s the hardback too.


The problem with having a humungous head is that if someone offers you a small helmet (stoppit) you will have to politely decline. In doing so you may miss the opportunity of riding a Kevil’s BMW café racer up the hill past Hay Tor on the first sunny day since Richard the Third parked his Astra in Leicester.

Yes, Kev assumed I would be travelling light on the GS, but no, I had brought the full compliment: Nikons, Leicas, reflectors and most of the Manfrotto timeline. So we ended up with two bikes a car, a T5, a trailer and a shuttle service up and down the hill.

Anyway, it sunned, on the bikes, the early morning dog-walkers, the woman in pink on a horse, the PCSO who stopped to say hello and latterly the ice-cream man.

Afterwards we went to The Hound of the Basket Meals and ate dogs.

Quote of the day? (Kev) “I didn’t know this was here” (Dartmoor)