One of the great things about working at CMD is the way the company embraces the Rose City’s bike culture. Bike commuting is actively encouraged year-round, with a lot of extra support for people who get into the saddle for the Bike Commute Challenge each September. And, as an art director, I get to spend my days crafting the visual language of all the things we make for our clients: websites, mobile apps, brochures, you name it. It’s a process where I’m fortunate to work with some really talented individuals. This brings me to Studio 3 photography studio, and partnering on a creative project that reflects my personal passion for cycling as well as that embraced by Portland and CMD.
I first worked with Studio 3 in December 2010, shooting bird’s eye views of two Western Star trucks. It wasn’t an easy shoot, given the sheer size of the trucks. And thanks to the unpredictable nature of Pacific Northwest skies in winter, we were forced to shoot inside a warehouse. In that kind of a situation, you can only get an angle so wide before running into problems with distortion. But Craig Wagner, the photographer from Studio 3, was very methodical in overcoming these logistic issues. Over the two days we shot, we bonded over a mutual appreciation for all things on wheels, be it two, four or eighteen. That shoot was just the beginning of a strong professional relationship, and then this past spring, something got us talking about my old bike.
Customizing the Touring Bike
I’ve been customizing this vintage Trek touring bike since the birth of my young son. It had sat in my garage, collecting dust for several years, because it’s so much heavier than my aluminum road bike and I tend to opt for speed. But it’s always been a great bike. The steel frame gives it a really comfortable ride. It reminds me of the matching yellow Schwinns that my parents used to pedal me around on. When I started thinking about how to introduce my boy to cycling, I swapped out the drop bars for mustache bars (to accommodate a front-mounted child seat). This gave the bike a totally different look, and I suddenly developed a new appreciation for the bike’s classic styling. Soon after, I added a Brooks leather saddle and matching bar tape. Then it kind of took on a life of its own. Since then, I continue to adjust little details like striped white tires, or black dice valve covers. My latest addition was designing the “Slow Ride” aluminum head badge, which I had made at International Graphics. “Slow Ride” was influenced by a few things: My son’s ‘70s-era, Evel Knievel helmet, and the fact that the bike weighs upwards of 30 pounds. We won’t be winning any races on this thing, but that’s hardly the point of our rides.
“Slow Ride” Photoshoot
I was thrilled that Craig was interested in collaborating on a “Slow Ride” shoot featuring the customized bike. As an art director, I really admire his attention to detail and the way he plans a shot. He’s keenly aware of potential challenges, and always has a good solution for telling a story through his lens. Half the fun of this shoot was working together on the idea, putting together moodboards, and scouting locations. As he tells it: “Working with Lawrence’s “Slow Ride” concept was fun and allowed me plenty of creative freedom. The mood boards were coherent and well designed. With a clear understanding of the desired outcome and tone, we were ready to go. I look forward to many more future projects with Lawrence’s creative concept development and the CMD team!”
The Journey Continues
There are more awesome takes and observations from the “Slow Ride” shoot with Craig and team on Studio 3’s blog, plus you too can get involved in this year’s Bike Commute Challenge by visiting the website.
Editor’s Note: At CMD, we’ve been participating in the Bike Commute Challenge since 2006, growing our team each September. Beyond what’s going on in the greater biking community, CMDers get prizes and activities to keep our bikers pumped up (as it were) and ready ride every day. Follow our faithful cyclists on Facebook and Twitter for fun updates and photos, plus updates on Instagram under the hashtag #bikecmd13.