On our recent trip across the Rajasthan Desert on Royal Enfields, we were lucky enough to have all the action, all the spills and all the general lunatic hi jinx captured by Melbourne photographer Jason Lau. His take on the journey and the impressive shots he managed to capture really piqued our interest. And looking through his back catalogue is an eye-opening experience, too. The sheer number of photos in there that we’d admired before but never connected back to him is seriously impressive. Talk about a quiet achiever. So we asked him for his best 15 shots.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Jason and I probably own too many cameras. I work as a photographer in Melbourne, though my work takes me all over the place. I began my creative life as a painter and studied art in university, which is where I discovered my affinity for photography. I soon changed majors and photography has been a pretty big part of my life for the past 20 years. I’d say art is still a pretty big part of my life and I find I have a wide range of influences that feed my work.
Why photograph bikes?
Motorcycles are like living sculptures. I love their bare and mechanical look and the exhilaration they bring. Custom motorcycles have so much personality and each bike I shoot brings out a different story. I also love capturing the lifestyle and culture around it, and the spirit of adventure that motorcycles represent. One of the main reasons that I chose photography were the opportunities to see and do different things rather than being stuck in my studio. It’s that moment where you’re hanging outside a vehicle at about 100kph trying to get the shot; you realise that you’re doing something pretty special.
Do you shoot any other subject matter?
I have shot a lot of fashion work over the last five years, which is quite different to my moto work. It’s great working with an experienced team and I enjoy fashion for the different styles I can create. I also love utilising lighting in creating different moods and looks.
What’s your go-to camera and lens?
I don’t really have one combo that I stick to but I do often gravitate towards my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and my 56mm f1.2 lens. The X-Pro 2 is a very light and portable unit which is great when I’m on the road, and the lens has such a cinematic feel to the images it creates.
What’s the best and worst things about shooting motos?
My favourite thing that has come from shooting motos are the amazing people I’ve gotten to meet and places I’ve travelled to. The custom bike scene is full of interesting individuals who are largely creative and enthusiastic. The worse thing about shooting motos is being at the mercy of the weather. Sometimes it’s just so hard to create that right shot without the right light, and when the pressure is on to get the shot, this can be a frustrating aspect.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’d love to be working with a range of great creative teams, like my recent work with Adventure Machine in Rajasthan. Perhaps overseeing projects where I can help other creatives develop their work. I’d like to think I’m still shooting moto adventures by then and perhaps have a few more bikes in my own garage.
What’s you’re favourite bike from the past few years?
This may not be a very exotic answer but it would be the Harley Davidson Iron 883. I surprised myself at how much I liked the stripped down, matte black looks. At the beginning of my riding life I was into more modern styled bikes and the Iron 883, though a modern bike, brought me into the custom retro world. After this I ended up buying and customising a Triumph Bonneville, which I suppose is my favourite bike now.