I am the daughter of a perfectionist tradesman; practical and unafraid to get stuck in and fix things when they break. But my long tenure as the Big T’s co-habitee has, I confess, made me a bit lazy. Like my dad, T is enormously handy. He has built bits of our house, maintained our cars, and sorted out the kind of plumbing and electrical problems that other people would have paid a professional to do. And I have definitely developed a tendency to ask for his help rather than trying to do maintenance and repair stuff myself.
T spends his days at a computer screen; a mechanical engineer whose work is mainly virtual. But he’s a man who needs a project; a tools out, hands dirty, greasy smell project. Several years ago he restored his old motor bike which had languished in his parents garage while we were in the UK. He doesn’t ride as often as he’d like — but at least now he can.
A few months ago he bought another bike to restore. So once again half of the garage is spread with tools and parts. This is totally outside my realm of either knowledge or interest, so I content myself with occasionally taking photos of these machines.
Black and white photography works well for machinery; allowing a focus on shape and texture. I shot these deliberately in quite poor light without my glasses on. I figured I didn’t really understand what I was photographing so I’d just — literally — point and shoot.
I have friends (and of course a partner) who can look at these photos and not only know what all the parts are, but whether they are original or aftermarket, and can probably tell what size and make the bolts are. I just look at them and think; nice detail, cool contrast.