Stan Engelbrecht (left) & Nic Grobler (right) have published the best 162 portraits and stories of the over 500 portraits of cyclists they’ve photographed during their 2 year journey around South Africa. Divided over 3 books, each contains a different 54 stories, and also two essays each by local South African and major international cycling figures. The books are designed by Gabrielle Guy and they have also collaborated with celebrated South African artist Gabrielle Raaff to create an individual hand-painted watercolor map, based on Google Maps, to indicate the location of each of the portraits.
As I await my copies in the mail, it’s an amazing feat to see this project together in a book series. Nic a motion designer and Stan Photographer have done more than collect stories and journal the cyclist revolution in South Africa. They continue to herald a community of conscious cyclists and share this trill and joy among all ages, keeping the bike culture classy. The Bicycle Project was on display at Design Indaba Expo earlier this year in March. They have also held an exhibit for their photography and continue to hold small bike activities and gatherings in Cape Town. Make sure you order your copy here.
When they started the project, Bicycle Portraits aimed to be a study of South African commuter culture, and they wanted to find out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option. But Bicycle Portraits has turned into a portrait of a nation through the bicycles that they own and ride every day – revealing all manner of social, class, historical and cultural nuances never imagined.
Here are lovely samples of Gabrielle Raaff’s hand painted watercolour maps. She picks the colours from the photographs and it matches it quite successfully.
Stanley rd, Millpark, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Momade Yassin Ambasse
Avenida Kwame Nkrumah, Maputo, Mozambique
Peter John Heneke
N2 outside Heidelberg, South Africa
Alfred Motloung Maibi
R57, Phuthaditjhaba, Free State, South Africa