Art & Photography

Max Schaaf, a Photography Exhibit by Jerry Buttles

The New York-based photographer explains his fascination with Schaaf’s artisanal motorcycle trade ahead of his Kinfolk 94 expo

“Max Schaaf is based in Oakland, California, and he builds custom motorcycles. I’ve been wanting to photograph him for quite some time as he’s not only an interesting person (he used to be a pro skateboarder before he started making bikes) but also because he’s very talented at what he does. To me, this is important because it’s custom and unique – amazing craftsmanship.So I visited his studio and spent three hours documenting him at work. One of my favourite things about shooting people is doing it in their environment, be it house or studio space.”

“I grew up skateboarding myself and Max, being a professional skater, was always in magazines and videos. So I was well aware of who he was. I ran into him in Oakland at a coffee shop and asked to shoot him at work. He said ‘come by the shop’. They are beautiful bikes for starters. Not flashy but rugged, bare bone and tough. They have their own aesthetic.I showed up one day and we got to talking for a while, long before I even took out my camera. Max tells great stories. After a while, as he was still talking to me, I got my camera out and started shooting. He was pre-occupied with story telling so I captured places and moments around his shop during that time. What he does is honest and hard work, it reminds me of my grandfather who was a motorcycle mechanic for a long time.” 

Photography Jerry Buttles

Max Schaaf, a Photography Exhibit by Jerry Buttles, May 1-4, 2014, Kinfolk 94, 94 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249. More info HERE