This month’s photographic flashback focuses on a composite photo that takes us to two different times and two different places. The first stop on our journey through space and time is the Sturgis Rally circa 1999. My companions were my friends Oliver and Cathy. We had stopped by a supermarket to pick up a few groceries before heading back to the Eagles Landing Campground. Cathy was a professional photographer and owned a photo lab, so we were both on the lookout for Sturgis photo ops. As we made our way to the store exit, we noticed a children’s ride that featured a pint-size Harley. I looked at Cathy, and Cathy looked at me. All three of us smiled as Cathy reached for her camera, and I climbed aboard the little ride, not bothering to deposit a quarter. Oliver ridiculed me mercilessly as his better half shot a few photos of an overweight biker on an underweight Harley. It was all in fun, and I looked forward to more laughs when Cathy’s film was developed.
A week or so later, an envelope containing my copies of Cathy’s Sturgis photos arrived in the mail. When I came to the one of me on the little bike I laughed, but I also got a strange feeling of déjà vu. Where had I seen a similar photograph? After racking my brain for a while I suddenly realized why the photo looked familiar. The picture that triggered my deja vu episode had become clear in my mind. Now if I could just find it in one of my many photo albums.
For several years, I had been the Chapter Photographer for the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter. Each year, one of the club’s charity projects involved setting up a booth at the annual World of Wheels Show and shooting Polaroid photos of people posing on a Harley with an American flag in the background. For the 1998 show, the bike we used happened to be a white Heritage Springer. I had flagged down a beautiful model who was taking a break from her work at one of the other booths. She was nice enough to pose with me, and I dutifully made a donation to our charity. In addition to the Polaroid, I had someone photograph us with my 35 mm camera.
When I located the bike show photo and placed it side by side with Cathy’s picture from Sturgis, the similarity was apparent. Not only were the big and little bikes the same model and color, but coincidentally I was wearing the same doo rag in both photos! I immediately called Cathy to tell her my story and to see if her lab had the capability of producing a composite photograph for me. First, the Sturgis photo would need to be reversed in order to have both bikes facing in the same direction. Then the bike show photo would be placed in a dream bubble and my caption added. With ease, Cathy created the accompanying composite photo. I submitted it to Easyriders Magazine, and it appeared in Issue #328, October, 2000. My photos have appeared fairly frequently in Easyriders over the years, but I am usually the photographer, not the subject. Hopefully Cycle Connections readers will find the photo amusing as Easyriders readers did a few years ago. The photograph is doubly meaningful to me since it reminds me of the good times our H.O.G. group has enjoyed at World of Wheels and also all the fun Oliver, Cathy, and I had that year at Sturgis.
Story by Stripe
Photos by Cathy and an unknown H.O.G. member