Olli Thomson

Accidental Projects – Bicycles

In principle I’m totally convinced by the idea that shooting photographic projects is an essential practice for any photographer. In practice, I’ve never quite managed to do so. This is partly a result of moving every couple of years to a new location where I often feel like I’m starting from scratch, though I recognise that there is no good reason why I couldn’t work on a project that didn’t restrict me to one place. Mostly, though, it’s because as photographer I’m lazy and a project sounds as if it involves a degree of commitment and discipline that doesn’t sit comfortably with my meandering and haphazard approach to shooting urban life.

The challenge is in finding the right project that is neither so vague as to have no real focus or shape nor so specific that it becomes burdensome, a constraint rather than opportunity. The closest I have come to a project was when I shot photographs of Didi Digomi, a housing complex on the edge of Tbilisi in Georgia, over s period of two years. This project came about because I happened to live nearby and my dog decided that it was her favourite place to go for a walk. So it became a project of sorts, but a somewhat unfocused one.

Meanwhile, while looking back over my pictures in selecting the images for my website I came across some other accidental projects, though perhaps they are better thought of as themes. The most striking of these, and one that does transcend the boundaries of any particular place, involves bicycles. Lots and lots of bicycles. According to Lightroom I have 45 bicycle images, more if I include Manila’s pedicabs and improvised three wheelers. Sometimes the bike is central, other times peripheral. Most were taken in Munich, a very bike friendly city, but wherever you go in the world there are bicycles. Here are a few of them.


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