By Katie Nelson
Fuck your scooter. In Aurelien Chauvaud’s Shanghai sidecar photo series, the owners of these wartime-nostalgia motorbikes look way cooler than the average biker and they know it.
The city of Shanghai has around 250 registered sidecar riders from all walks of life, Chauvaud says in the introduction to his collection. “From mechanics to expat CEO’s, these riders come from all strata of society and are scattered all over the city”. The one common factor tying them all together? Badassitude.
Romanian French photographer tried to capture his diverse group of subjects through an approach equally journalistic and conceptual, resulting in a series of photos that evoke the imagination but remain realistic.
I never interfered with the appearance of the protagonists that I photographed; their bikes, clothes and style are entirely their own. The only element that I interfered with was the location in which I chose to photograph them. I aimed to represent the subjects in the style of Japanese manga heroes or as American Marvel-type cartoon characters.
The sidecars have all been customized specifically for each rider. Chauvaud believes that the riders reflect a current state of mind in China to differentiate from the “‘uniform system’ of the past”.
(Out of genuine curiosity, can someone explain the uniform in picture number one?)
Aurelien Chauvaud’s entire photo set can be viewed in his portfolio.