This book shows a social aspect of the world of bikers. A world which is communal and yet impermeable from outsiders . Bikers want to be free, without constraints .. but they are governed by drastic internal rules. MCs easily compare themselves to masonic lodges and adopt military rules.
Being part of an MC is a real commitment.
There are many limitations, especially when you're at the bottom of the hierarchy.
In this project, I emphasized photographically the classical image that these bikers convey when they’re with their biker family, but also, the huge contrast with their everyday life projects
Although some MC members might seem to live a marginal lifestyle, for the most part, they are actually integrated fully into the mainstream of society. Many MC Bikers have, in addition to the singular life of a MC members, a quite regular family life, a job and career or at least they are looking for one. Thus, the modern MC Bikers is no longer completely on the margin with society.
Even if he still has a fierce desire for independence and a spirit of rebellion, behind the beards, shaven skulls, tattoos and jackets which give them the sometimes disturbing look, they are mostly people very calm who adhere to a peaceful existence. Officials, executives, workmen etc ... form the biggest part of the MC Members . Few bikers make a living from a club income.
Their belief in the MC Brotherhood is what characterises them most.. If all bikers are in solidarity with each other, the MC Bikers consider the other members of their MC as brothers.
This notion of respect, like fraternity, is their primary value. They respect all individuals. They live their passion, their ideal, their philosophy without asking anything from anyone. They are bound to ideology of respect at all cost to their Brothers! Any breach of this rule can be considered a provocation or even an aggression. Some of them and especially the 1%er can then react with extreme violence even at the risk of putting themselves in danger!
The fundamental difference between MC clubs and regular clubs is notably in the recruitment of their members. In a MC, the rules of life, especially the solidarity in all circumstances between brothers require a progressive integration of new members.
In regular clubs such as the HOG ( Harley Owners Group ), there is no selection or co-opting, there is only one rule: to own a Harley and pay the yearly subscription fee to the HOG which belong to the Harley Davidson.
The concept of 1% outlaw motorcycle clubs originates from the existence of motorcycle clubs that do not comply with the established standards and norms of society. This « gang » notion was exaggerated by a journalist after the coverage of a riot which took place in Hollister California USA, in 1947. This riot inspired the movie « The Wild One » with Marlon Brando. After that event, 1% of the bikers, mainly MC Bikers were considered as troublemakers, lawless, drunken, filthy bands, rebels versus the 99% of regular bikers. Today, only very few MC Bikers wear the diamond patch with the inscription "1%er".
All black and white photos were made in the Club Houses .. Same lighting, black curtain background, 100% Biker.
Facing the camera, they quickly took a pose, rolled up the sleeves, and even undressed to show their tattoos, picking up baseball bats, knives, brass knuckles, some even weapons .. Why ??? because they want to show the image of bad boys to the public.
I photographed a second time the same person, but now in color, .. with the same lens ... and the same frame.
I did this to increase the contrast between their two parallel lives, which nonetheless intersect for a certain time and then break apart again.
Photo-reporter for nearly 15 years in the 80/90, Biker forever. I decided to re-invest in brand new digital cameras after a twenty years standby, I devoted to the photography business and the photographers .. creating Photo Agencies, Start-ups.
I have taught during 10 years how to build up « reportage features » and trained many renowned photojournalists at the School of Journalism in Paris and at the University Paris VII ..) With this book "MC Bikers" I wanted to investigate a world that is like me, decided above all to safeguard a share of freedom, respect, sincerity and friendship.