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Photographing The Evolution of the Bicycle

Updated on February 20, 2014
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I have mentioned quite a few times that anything worth photographic probably has been already. I have also written that most photographic projects have in one way or another a certain market appeal.

They can be submitted to photographic publications, greeting card companies, the posters industry, fine art galleries, calendars and used for home or office decor.

Most photographers will take many images of the same subject and choose those samples which are not only technically perfect but which also have a certain appeal to a specific sector of the industry.

Yet there are photographers who do not really have an area of specialization but take photographs of many subjects, and yet there are others who are micro specialist and only concentrate on a very limited set of subjects within a specific subset of topics.

Time after time I have seen specialized photographers make few sales but once they do, it proves to be rewarding.

One project which has a broad appeal and a specific industry one too is to do a photographic history of a selected subject. This type of shoot can be used by the same aforementioned industries but is also very relevant to a specific industry and for those who are into it too.

I recently wrote an article dealing with the history of the bikini. This particular article appeals to various commercial entities but is very relevant for a bikini or beachwear manufacturer.

One similar piece is to conduct a history of the bicycle although you can choose from a myriad of subjects. The bicycle industry is vibrant and has a large following of people who use them for one purpose or another and calendars are a good vehicle to showcase these photos.

Before we go on any further lets read a bit about the history of the bicycle or as many call them the bike; There are several early but unverifiable claims for the invention of bicycle-like machines.

"Vehicles for human transport that have two wheels and require balancing by the rider date back to the early 19th century. The first means of transport making use of two wheels, and thus the archetype of the bicycle, was the German draisine dating back to 1817. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s....The earliest comes from a sketch said to be from 1493 and attributed to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. Hans-Erhard Lessing recently claimed that this last assertion is a purposeful fraud.[1][2] However, the authenticity of the bicycle sketch is still vigorously maintained by followers of Prof. Augusto Marinoni, a lexicographer and philologist, who was entrusted by the Commissione Vinciana of Rome with the transcription of da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus.[3]" Wikipedia

You may wonder how come this type of photographic project is marketable since it deals with a very common and easily photographed subject. The answer lies in the fact that to conduct the project faithfully you have to track down and photograph many bicycles, not hard yet.

The difficulty arises in part from having to seek and photograph earlier samples of them, and yes it may require an expenditure of money to travel from location to location, unless of course you happen to live next to a bicycle museum.


OK so you have decided that you will take the time and go through with the project and do the bicycle shoot. Once you have located suitable subjects then start taking images from various angles and from various perspectives.

Also include some sets with people shown enjoying the bikes as this adds charm and realism to the entire scene.

Do close ups, long shots, macro shots. Also record individual parts of the bicycle but do so with the intent of allowing a viewer to easily recognise that the individual part that you photograph belongs to a bicycle. Do not make it so hard to recognize that your audience may get frustrated and move on to the next image.

Try to choose samples that are colorful, innovative and just plain strange.

Of special mention are the very futuristic concepts now being considered and in some case being produced. These are nothing short of spectacular and you can only wonder of what will they think of next.


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      breakfastpop: thank you. It would be nice if you photographed some of them

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Very interesting hub. There is a 97 year old gentlemen who lives in my area who has a bicycle museum that is totally amazing.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      kashmir56: Thank you

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      All great and interesting information,loved all the bicycle photos,well done !

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Lynn: Thank you

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      Interesting and informative as usual!