I first started shooting the Scraper Bikes in 2008. It was shortly after I had given up my full time job for photography and I was really exited to shoot a personal project and get it out to the world. I shot a mix of portrait and documentary style shots and started pitching it, mostly to hip-hop and street culture publications. People expressed interest, but the story fell victim to the failing economy on two occasions. The first time was when the magazine who planned to feature it folded. The second was to be an 8 page fashion spread based on my original work, but the publication made some deep cuts, including any shoot that required their people to travel outside of New York. I learned of that one on my birthday.
Aside from being on my site and in some smaller group shows, the photos sat latent for some time. Meanwhile, the Scraper’s cache was growing. Documentaries were being made, more photographers were shooting them (I’m putting it in writing, I was first!). And folks in the editorial, cycling, and art worlds were Googling them. Mind you, their youtube video had nearly 1,000,000 hits BEFORE I ever shot them, so they were by no means unheard of. Anyway, people started contacting me about those photos and now they’ve been in 5 magazine spreads, including a cover, as well as having been shown at the Oakland Airport and at shows in Philly, Denver, Austin, and San Francsico.
It had been awhile since I’d seen Tyrone Stevenson, AKA Baybe Champ the Scraper Bike King, and his crew, and I was psyched to hear from him a little before Halloween 2010. I showed up to shoot their annual Halloween ride (actually, I shot mostly the lead up to the ride, but not much of the ride itself) and was amazed to see how much their movement has grown organizationally. Tyrone shows a deep commitment to his followers and though it may come off rough at times (fining kids for cursing), he really cares deeply for them and is committed to helping them steer clear of the trouble that so many of their peers wind up in.
I’m proud of these dudes.
You can see more scraper bike photos on my portfolio site – http://www.matthewreamer.com
Their site – http://originalscraperbikes.blogspot.com
Here are a few photos from Halloween 2010. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get them up.
Scraper Bikers know how to make it work. These guys couldn’t get the saddle off that messed up old seat post, so they just slammed it on top of the new seat post and pinched it with a vice grip. Other non-traditional bike repair tools include hacksaws and hammers, usually used to modify frames to accommodate bigger wheels.