Series Captures NYC Cyclists in Motion

I’m just crazy about this photo series of New York City cyclists by Robin Gautier. By snapping each rider in motion at precisely the same point in the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge, the London-based architectural photographer captures the energy of this city’s diverse cycling community, a dynamic that is amplified in her juxtapositions of multiple images against a white background.

Gautier, who uses her bicycle to ferry her camera bags and tripods around her home town, found inspiration for this series in the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher, the German photographers who focused in the postwar years on typologies, or unifying physical design characteristics, of industrial buildings and architecture. It was the form of the bicycle, the diamond frame, that first drew Gautier’s attention.

“I take pictures of buildings for a living, but I’ve long thought that the bicycle shot like that in profile makes a uniquely interesting shape,” she wrote in an email.

Further inspiration came from contemporary photographer Jeffery Milstein’s Aircraft series, in which images similarly float in a void, encouraging appreciation of both forms and individual details.

Gautier’s first impulse was to stop bicyclists – couriers and fixed-gear riders – and ask to photograph their bikes. But she soon realized that capturing the bikes with riders in motion would be more interesting. She tried this approach in several trendy East London neighborhoods, but says she could not find a spot that satisfied her vision.

It was on a visit to New York City in September 2012, that she found the perfect location (photo below) on the popular Williamsburg Bridge East River crossing. Gautier estimates that about 2,000 riders passed her during her time on the bridge, perhaps one-third women.

Gautier spent several months selecting, isolating and arranging the photos into her multi-image series. The photos have been shown in London and the artist hopes for an exhibit in New York City, as well.

As a first step, Gautier is among the artists participating on Mon., Dec. 2  in Transportation Alternatives’ art show and sale at the Whyte Hotel in Brooklyn, a benefit for the Complete Streets Fund. Click here to preview the works and buy tickets to the event.

Photos: Robin Gautier

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