Friday, December 29, 2017

Great vintage motorcycle photos from eBay

1913 Douglas photographed in a garden.
Even before I started this blog about Royal Enfields for sale in the United States, I enjoyed prowling the classified ads for neat old used motorcycles. It was even more fun looking at eBay, with photos of the vehicles for sale.

Back then I used PhotoShop software in my work as a photo editor for a daily newspaper. Not in the interest of producing Fake News — we carefully limited ourselves. The rule was "do nothing that would not have been done in a paper-and-chemicals darkroom."

Cropping, adjusting lighting, a little sharpening, that was about it.

A Harley-Davidson tribute to the Booze Fighters.
I used PhotoShop to add the words to the tank.
It was obvious that PhotoShop had abilities far more powerful. In idle moments I used the program to doctor some of the photos I found on the Internet, for my personal entertainment, not publication.

Photos from eBay provided the ideal challenge, as they frequently included everything from the family garbage cans to garden hoses and distracting vehicles in the background.

With these erased, I had room to add words that I thought captured the spirit of each motorcycle.

A Levis with an inserted tribute to England. Unlike England,
Levis production did not survive World War II. It ended in 1941.
Even more, I felt that I liberated the unintentional artistry sellers employed in photographing their motorcycles. Their feelings, too, emerged once the photos were cleaned up.

Believe it or not, each of these photos started as just a way to show a motorcycle for sale. Deliberate skill or sometimes accidents of lighting added the artistic potential.

I rarely do this sort of thing anymore; it was a way to use trapped time during a quiet shift on the photo desk. The examples here are therefore from an earlier time: back when photos on eBay were typically low in resolution, a technical challenge in itself.

I hope you enjoy them.

A 1937 Jawa 250 coming.
...and the same bike going.

1 comment:

  1. David - Happy New Year and thanks for SO many fun posts throughout 2017! I wish you many happy miles in '18!


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