"Legends" Book release party
Saturday, March 4; 7 p.m.
Jammy Buggars; 15625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
CLEVELAND, Ohio - If there's a challenge for a photographer like Mikey "Revolt" Arnold, it's confining speed, grace and the open road to the binding of a coffee table book. Throughout the pages of his new photo collection, "Legends," hair of motorcyclists whips in the wind and the purples and reds of sunsets lower over mountains. Ripped jeans and leather jackets pop off the page. And riding a bike has never looked more fun.
Arnold's motorcycle photography has been seen in publications such as Street Chopper, Cycle Source, The Horse Backstreet Choppers, Chop Cult and Canada's Fast Times. He releases his first book with a party at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at Lakewood restaurant Jammy Buggars, 15625 Detroit Ave.
Motorcycle culture has always been in Arnold's blood. He's started riding as soon as he could walk.
"My dad sat me on a tank and would take me around the neighborhood; those we're my earliest memories as a kid," says Arnold. "A few of my uncles were in outlaw clubs, and they'd come home with stories about being on the road for days on end, just adventuring."
Arnold spent his youth skateboarding and playing music, until he bought his first bike at 26. Around the same time, he started tinkering with his wife's camera and taking it to car and motorcycle shows with his friends. He started a blog for his photos, "Forever the Chaos Life," it began receiving national attention.
In 2015, he began organizing an annual exhibit, Fuel Cleveland, that shows off work by artists, photographers, builders and other members of motorcycle culture community from across the country.
The work eventually landed him a gig as a full-time photographer for Lowbrow Customs, a Brunswick motorcycle shop. His wife, Kat, pushed him to collect his images from the past three years into a book and served as its designer.
"Never did I think this would turn into what I'm doing for a living," says Arnold.Mikey Arnold
For an authentic snapshot of the adrenaline rush of riding, all of Arnold's photos are taken while he's on his own bike.
"Sometimes I get right in front of someone and turn around backwards and get a straight-on shots," says Arnold. "It's not me in a truck or being trailed behind someone's bike. With those traditional set-ups, you just don't get the same kind of angles."
When we think of riders, they're usually traveling as lone wolves or in packs, with steely machines cruising side-by-side down the highway. Both are showcased in "Legends," but Arnold's true goal was to capture the individual. Gritty, black and white photos take you to bike meet-ups. Another captures a solo rider in the desert, where sparkling white sand and blue skies meet on the horizon.
"The main focus is on all the great people I've ridden with and all over North America," says Arnold. "I've met so many people with cool bikes and great style who have great stories. Everyone's different and they should be paid respect for that."
The book is divided into regions, with sections dedicated to the Midwest, East and West Coasts, Mexico, Canada and two cross-country trips. It's interspersed with Arnold's personal accounts. Whether a rider is ripping through the Gypsy Run in the Catskill Mountains or over Cleveland's Innerbelt Bridge with the skyline in the background, each tells the story of a rider blazing their own trails.
"That's exactly why I called it 'Legends,'" says Arnold. "Everyone's a legend in their own right and everyone should be remembered for what they did in their life."
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