Ben Franke is a New York-based German/American photographer, whose work focuses on movement across a range of athletic disciplines—concentrating on parkour. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Der Spiegel: Wissen, GEO, The Red Bulletin and he has worked with companies including Kenneth Cole, Red Bull and Samsung, among others.
While in SoHo, I saw a group sitting on these cool looking bikes. I asked to take their photo, which they obliged, and then told me: “watch this.” They stood in front of their bikes to stop traffic on Prince and Mercer and a rider named Obloxkz whipped down the block doing a wheelie and then quickly leaned back far enough to drag his free hand on the ground. This was my introduction to bike life.
Since that day, I have been interested in these bikers and have learned more what draws them to it. Biking gives them a sense of community, which they described as “bikes bring bonds.” While they are swerving through traffic in New York, and sometimes shutting down the streets during rideouts, they have formed a large community centered around riding, wheelies and swerving.
With Swerve Kings, I aim to capture these riders through portraits and in action to try to convey the feeling I first got when Obloxkz flew past me that first day in SoHo.
To view more of Ben Franke’s work please visit their website.