In this, the latest installment of our series on the world’s best moto photographers, we spoke to Californian Stan Evans on his work shooting some of the world’s best customisers, riders and bikes. While you couldn’t hope to find a more down-to-earth guys, his work speaks for itself; his black and white shots of Max Hazan are some of the best we’ve ever seen. We hope you agree.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Stan Evans. I’m a photographer by way of Alaska, where I first started taking pictures. I’m schooled in the west by way of Montana and Utah. Refined by working with some incredible mentors and the creative vibes of New York. I’m currently enjoying the sunshine of Los Angeles.
Why shoot motorcycles?
Honestly, shooting motorcycles kind of came by accident. A few years back I was predominantly working as a snowboard photographer, so I had my summers free. I interviewed for a job in the service department at my local Triumph dealer just to learn about bikes and during the interview they mentioned they needed help in their marketing department. I got the job.
I had no idea what I was doing, but we grabbed a demo bike, some gear off the shelves and a female friend rode the bike. This was long before the women’s rider push really started, so they didn’t quite trust her and they made me put a credit card deposit on the bike, “In case she wrecked it”. Funny thing is, she grew up riding dirt bikes and Harleys with her dad and could ride circles around most guys.
Do you shoot any other subject matter?
Lifestyle, Athletics and Portraits are what mainly pay the bills. The budgets are higher but with it comes more pressure. Sometimes you may only have 2 minutes to achieve a compelling image. The main difference is creating a moment versus capturing a moment.
What’s your go-to camera and lens?
I mainly shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and Sony A6000 or A6300. I use the Canon for studio stuff, shooting tethered with Capture One and Profoto strobes, so the system is tried and true. The little Sonys are great for portability and being able to mount in weird places, but my focus lies more in strobes and light modifiers. I prefer to light things rather than use lightroom filters and a ton of Photoshop or composite work.
What’s the best thing about shooting motos?
Shooting motorcycles is always exciting. Whether it’s getting out on the bike or in the studio, trying to find the new lines and lighting something that’s just been built in great. Above all, I enjoy meeting the people. Each bike I shoot has a person attached to it and I find myself becoming more and more curious about these personalities. My goal with the camera is extracting their stories and trying to put these unique characters in the spotlight.
What’s the worst thing?
Motorcycling is a fun, creative, ‘free’ culture but it’s hard explaining to people that ‘digital’ photography isn’t free. It takes a camera, lenses, computer, hard drives, liability insurance and lots more. If you like and appreciate what someone is doing and it will help your business – pay them. Support the people who are supporting you. Exposure doesn’t pay the mortgage or rent. Show photographers the same respect you’d want yourself. And to young photographers, understand copyright law, media buys and works for hire. Self-value starts within.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d like to travel more. I could use a good immersion in a different culture and a different creative vibe other than my iPhone or a computer. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. A few years ago, I went on a trip to Africa to shoot some marketing stuff for a charity foundation and seeing how little people were living with and how happy they were was a revelation. It was a quiet lesson in humility. I’m not perfect and every once in a while, those reminders help steer the ship.
What’s your favourite bike from the past few years?
My Speed Triple. I recently got into an accident and it was a borderline decision as to whether I should keep it or get something else. But I’ve seen so many amazing roads on that thing, I just couldn’t let it go.
Rebuilding it was a healing and learning process in itself. I worked with some great guys at Motorsport Exotica, a shop in Hollywood and we did a subtle custom rebuild. It’s got some small touches that make it distinct but nothing outlandish. And it was all done on a budget that the average biker could afford and source. I’m a pretty low-key guy and I just like having a quality bike that works well and suits my style.