Who are you?
My name is Dmitry Gudkov. I live in Brooklyn, NY and work as a freelance photographer. (This isn’t really frequently asked, but a good place to start.)
Why did you start the #BikeNYC portrait series?
A few years ago, after years of only taking the subway, I started riding my bike to the day job I had at the time. It sounds cheesy, but it changed my life. Biking changes your relationship with New York; it gives you a freedom you can’t have otherwise. At the time I didn’t know many other people who rode bikes, but I saw them on the bridges and bike lanes, by the thousands. So I decided it might be fun to get to know some of them, under the auspices of a serties of portraits and profiles. I did a shoot with a friend, started this blog and threw it up on Twitter.
Why did you call it #BikeNYC?
After the Twitter hashtag. It’s such a powerful tool in quickly connecting many people who are interested in bike-related matters in NYC. I started this blog almost on a whim, and used the hashtag to get the word out. It gave me an instant, self-selected audience.
How do you choose who to photograph?
Initially, I just photographed anybody who asked me on Twitter. I still do, but I do a lot more man/woman on the street type photos too. Thousands of New Yorkers ride bikes, and most of them aren’t hanging out on Twitter talking about bikes. They’re busy taking their kids to school or riding to work. If I see someone interesting on a bike, I try and work up the courage to ask them for a photo.
Do real New Yorkers ride bikes? I thought they were just for hipsters and trustafarians.
Put down the New York Post. What’s a real New Yorker? I see people riding from all walks of life, every day. In this post, I list a few of the typical hipster cyclists I’ve encountered on the streets of this city.
Do you charge for portraits?
No, the portraits are free. #BikeNYC started out as a personal project and it remains one. I try to capture a wide cross section of New York cyclists, which increasingly means stopping people in the street and asking to take their picture. Obviously I don’t charge for that. I do offer prints for sale of the portraits which goes a small way toward justifying the time invested in the project.
That said, I sometimes get requests from organizations or publications for “BikeNYC-style” portraits. I treat these as the commercial or editorial assignments that they are and charge accordingly.
I want a #BikeNYC portrait!
Great! Just click the contact form above and let’s set it up.
What do I need to prepare for the shoot?
Just yourself and your bike. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
You took my #BikeNYC portrait! Can I use it on Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Myspace/Friendster/…?
Of course. You’re welcome to use the low-res file for any profile, whatever you want.
You took my #BikeNYC portrait! Can I get a print?
Absolutely. I sell prints of all my bike photos in the print store. They’re affordable and look great (I have a few framed on my wall). I spend a good amount of time with each image to get it as close to perfect as possible.
Screw print sales! What is this, 1985? I want the high-res file! Then I can make as many prints as I want at Duane Reade, for next to nothing!
Hey, relax. You can have the high-res – it’ll just cost a little more. Just look for the “Digital Download” button in the print store. But if you buy the print direct from me, it’ll look much better, trust me.
What kind of camera do you use?
Most of my bike portraits are done with a Canon 5D and a 135mm lens, often using a bokeh panorama technique to approximate a medium format look.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I ride a Fuji Track bike purchased from B’s Bikes in Greenpoint. I’ve done silly things like put a rack and basket on it and often attempt to carry around my photo gear on it, all of which makes me think I need to get a proper commuter bike one of these days.
I’m bored of bikes. Don’t you take pictures of anything else?
I do. Visit my main site, Dmitry Gudkov Photography.