New York Bike Style: Behind the Lens

I posted about Sam Polcer’s wonderful book of New York City street photos, New York Bike Style, when it was published last spring. As one who deeply appreciates the mobile mosaic of self expression that I observe every day in the New York City bike lanes, I continue to find it remarkable that Polcer was able, spontaneously and within minutes, to engage his subjects, who, like seemingly all New Yorkers were in a rush; set them at ease in front of the camera; and capture the essence of their personal connections with their bicycles. So, I asked Polcer to pick a favorite photo and give us the back story. Meet Romane:

I spotted Romane buying this bike from a vendor at the Brooklyn Bike Jumble back in May, which is obviously a fantastic time to ride a bike in New York, and I went up to her and asked if I could shoot her for the project. They look good together, no? I quite like how naturally she posed with the bike, leaning it over like that. The tendency for most people is to stiffen up and kind of hold their bike out in front of them; the trick is to get them to relax, to get comfortable with the bike to the point where they can play around with it. It’s very important to me that not everyone poses with their bike in the same way. I like this picture for a number of reasons. The subject is obviously very stylish; I love that this is her new bike, and that it’s an unknown brand; the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, makes for a very nice backdrop that complemented her outfit; and the sky was perfectly overcast, with very nice, soft natural light. Definitely one of my favorites.

A selection of Polcer’s street photos from his blog Preferred Mode will be exhibited and for sale at the Levi’s Commuter Workspace at 261 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There will be an opening party on Wednesday, July 16  from 5 – 7 p.m. where Polcer will be on hand to sign copies of New York Bike Style.

Photo: Sam Polcer

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