This week I thought I’d return to the spray paint work of Piers Dowell by shooting one of his finest creations – a Kawasaki 1500 Mean Streak. And I wanted to do this using one of my favourite flash lighting tools – the Profoto strip light.
As with Piers’s spray painted helmets, the striking air brushed design work is superlative combined with the back-end custom job on the Kawasaki. Gives it that Dennis-Hopper-on-a-chopper-in-Easy-Rider look. Seriously mean looking and sounding , 1500 v-twin engine & straight through exhausts!
Funny, when writing this ode to the Mean Streak I happened across an old Torygraph review from 2002. This claimed it was neither mean nor did it streak. “I’d love to believe the bike has been named ironically,” Mr Torygraph bike reviewer opined.
But one thing’s for sure; he never stumbled across this leviathan, which has been lovingly christened Demented by its owner.
Incidentally, this piece of mega bike-art is up for grabs at the moment on eBay
To give Demented and Piers’s art work the respect they clearly deserve, I wanted to shoot the stills in a dank, severe setting amid broken light and fractured metals and water. What better place to do this than the Lawrence Recycling plant in Kidderminster, evocative of industrial wastelands much loved by film directors in the 1980s. But shots of the Mean Streak needed to be in a mean place and using the Profoto tool gave lighting the hard metals a brutal edge.
By great good fortune I also persuaded my pal Tony Chance to venture forth with me to the badlands of Kidderminster to film my day’s shooting. Those of you who are regulars to these pages will recall his work with me on my “joy riding skeleton in a Lamborghini Reventon” blog.
Tony is a seriously well connected individual whose past exploits as a storyboard artist include the movies Mission Impossible and American Beauty, among many others.
To film me shooting Demented he drew up a quick storyboard on a proverbial cigarette packet and then directed a short documentary of our day.
Like myself, Tony was smitten with Demented and wanted to give the old road warrior an American road-movie makeover. To capture all the necessary shots he used a Canon mark 5d. It’s only a small camera, but excellent for doing the type of documentary footage that we needed. An atmosphere of shadows, dripping water, broken metal and even large predatory rats, although we couldn’t persuade the giant rodents to make an appearance on camera, more’s the pity.
Once we had the stills and the video shots in the bag, I headed off for a well-earned beer while Tony laboured over the soundtrack for the film. As it happens, this took him another couple of days (Tony’s a serious perfectionist) laying down a bluesy track with local music maestro Nick Smith. To get the atmosphere right Tony added his own drums to the track, while Nick added the bass licks.
The result: an excellent Youtube documentary by Tony Chance of a photo shoot with my favourite Profoto lighting gear, accompanied by the brilliant Nick Smith soundtrack. And in the centre of all this flurry of activity is the highly colourful, Piers Dowell-adorned Demented Kawasaki Mean Streak.
Have a look at the video – it’s a good day’s work!