With his unparalleled abilities and breath-taking high action shots, Aaron Brimhall has taken the motorcycle photography scene by storm. Building a very passionate online following, you can find his work reposted on blogs across the globe.
We wanted to take a look at how it all began, from picking up a camera, to shooting promotional stuff for Biltwell.
The Interviews: Aaron Brimhall
When did you begin to take photographs?
I started in my senior year of high school just for fun. My wife Sal, at the time was my girlfriend, she had a photography class and I would just go with her to do her ‘photography homework’. She got me stoked on it. I’ve always painted and used to draw a lot. So I think taking photos for me was a little easier and I could get creative in a different way. It was a lot of fun. And I just stuck with it every since.
Every photographer has a few staples pieces, what’s in your day-to-day gear bag?
Well I don’t use a lot as of now, But I have a Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70mm, 40mm, and a really awesome 50mm that’s for an old Pentax. Found a nice adaptor for that and it’s pretty dang buttery when you get the shot in focus. But right now we are in the market to get some lenses and other equipment. After that…. It’s game on!
What’s the one piece of gear that you couldn’t live without?
The one piece of gear that I could definitely not live without would be my camera body. Ha!
Talk us through your post production process…
I mainly just use photoshop and Lightroom. That’s it. Nothing too serious.
How did you get into shooting motorcycle imagery?
Motorcycle photos have always caught my eye. I always would go on Instagram or Bike Exif and look at the different styles of bikes/photography that went into that shot. It all started about 3 years ago when my cousin Zach came over and told me he would make my CB650 into a little cafe. I didn’t know a whole lot about bikes but he came over every single day for about 3 months and I just watched him tear apart my bike. I started getting a little more hands on with the build and somehow it made me really more interested in bikes. And definitely wanted to start shooting motorcycle stuff.
Your local surroundings seem idealistic with regards to riding, how has that influenced your work?
You’ve probably heard of “Bolts Action”…. They are the ones who really got me into motorcycles way back to my sophomore year of high school. Jeremy Jones has always been a huge influence on me and seeing him ripping around his bike in SLC (Salt Lake City) and on little edits got me pumped on wanting to get a scoot. But they’re one of the originals here in Salt Lake. My friends and I earlier this year would literally go out everyday and just ride. You can never get a better picture than when riding with your homies having the best of times. A picture just doesn’t turn out the same when you plan something.
What motorcycle do you ride?
Right now I have an ’05 sporty (Harley-Davidson Sportster 883). I bought this bike about 2 years ago while I was living in LA. Sold my CB and car cause I was never driving my car around Los Angeles and I was always using my bicycle at the time. And I didn’t have my CB with me there in Cali. Thought it would be practical to get the bike I always wanted and rip around traffic in Los Angeles.
A lot of your images are clearly well organised, how much planning goes into photographs like this?
This photo has a rad story behind it. It was the first time I met Juan (u2moto) and jun (nostalgia_memoir). My friend Kaycee, (kaycee_landsaw) Tory (sweet_avenue) and I actually planned this shoot and we all met up at this pavilion at the bottom of the canyon. It was raining and when I say that I mean like dumping and was super cold. We didn’t think anyone was going to show up at all. 5 minutes later we see Jun and Juan pull up on their bikes. We waited about an hour under the pavilion and it started to calm down but it was still wet out. They were just so hyped to ride and get some photos out of it they didn’t care to get wet! I even offered my hoody to jun who was only wearing is shirt. But he wanted deus to be in the photo so he didn’t take me up on the offer. Haha. Thought it would be better to get photos of them while it was wet out anyway so we ripped around for about an hour and a half in the freezing cold. It turned out so much better than we anticipated.
You also shoot a lot of action shots, how do you go about that?
Yeah so it’s mostly out of the back of a car or a truck. And I gotta give all the credit to Sal, my wife. She’s the man. She comes with me on most of the shoots. She’s also a bike lover which is rad.
You shoot a lot with your wife, Salome. Do you find this pushes you creatively?
Sal, like I said comes with me pretty much to most of the shoots. And she’s on the back of my bike a lot as well. She always wants me to have new content which is so sick. She’s always down to come to every shoot and gives me other ideas!
The two of you travel a lot, how does travel photography processes differ from your motorcycle work?
Well I love shooting landscape and lifestyle stuff the most. It’s super fun to just go explore places you’ve never been to. Before we even go to the places we go to, we look people up in that specific area. Then we contact them and see if they’re down to meet. It’s crazy how you can become friends with someone just through instagram. The app is so rad, and has let me meet so many people I would have never thought I would meet. Like for example, we are in Hong Kong right now and I’ve been following these so called ‘roof toppers’ Daniel (@daniel_lau) and Erik (@erikbiedron) for quite a while. I tried getting a hold of them for so long and it was kind of hard because they have so many followers they would never see my comments. I sound like a stalker… I swear I’m not. But I went to this instameet in Macau where I met Kay (@kulkimoose) who was the original roof topper in HK. He then introduced me to those guys and it’s been a pleasure exploring with them seeing the greatest view of Hong Kong. I love what these guys do. They’re insane! Please check them out. You won’t regret it.
Your online following is obviously very passionate about your work, how has it been watching that grow and seeing how people interact with it?
All I got to say about that is thanks to everyone who likes my work. And a huge thank you to all the companies that I’ve been working with. Thanks for all the support guys!
It can be a controversial topic for most photographers, but what’s your stance on online usage and image rights?
I don’t care at all when someones uses my picture. The only time I do care is when they use it and don’t give credit to the right person. I see so many people stealing photos and claiming the photos their own. But when you see someone reposting your work it’s really rewarding.
What’s the next move for you and your photography?
Man I just live in the moment day by day… I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and see what the future has for me.
Take a look at some of Aarons great work below and show him some love in the comments: