Name: Chris Hinkle
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Website/IG/ Facebook: ChrisHinkle.com / @chrishinkle
Your very first approach with Photography, feelings.
The first time I remember having an interest in photography was on a trip to Europe, while using my girlfriends point and shoot camera. We were in Chamonix and I remember having images in my head and playing around with compositions of people and the landscape…nothing quite translated to how I imagined, when we got the film back, but the experience stuck with me.
After returning to the States I went about my daily life as a bike messenger, even delivering rolls of film and prints for a photo lab – back and forth to ad agencies, design studios, photo studios, etc. – but I didn’t pursue photography immediately.
The idea of photography stayed in my subconscious however, as I pursued mountain bike racing and other adventures. Eventually I ended up at a time where many paths in my life were changing…some were starting new, some were ending, others were continuing in new forms.
And photography presented itself at the right time. With the encouragement of some great photographers around me, I went for it and haven’t looked back since.
What fascinates you in this form of Art?
Probably the stopping of time. I love all aspects of photography and could go on and on about how I love layers, the look of film, and high contrast black and white images, but as I get older and now that I have a 5 year old son, the stopping of time is beautiful. It would not be uncommon for me to look through my archive of family photos with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.
Black and White or Colors or both?
Both. Definitely. Most of my photography for clients has been color and many of my personal projects as well. However, I love black and white. I find freedom in black and white…to be suggestive, emotive, and separate from reality. My personal work at the moment is all black and white.
Late afternoon, Winter light in the Southwest is the best. I’m sure there are similar versions of the same light around the world (and I would love to find them) but the light of Winter in the desert is by far my choice lighting.
A really inspiring Place for your work.
Any high desert with a few mountains and some trees in the distance. Add in some bikes, motos, and a few great people…done.
The digital age, positive and negative aspects in your work.
I learned on film, then switched to digital fairly quickly for work…and for that it’s indispensable. To be honest I like the look of film better and have a shelf full of film cameras, but they do gather dust, as even my personal projects don’t incorporate film as much as they used to. Digital works for me. My happiness now seems to lie in a paradox of digital camera systems – a simple Leica M for personal work and a Sony, Canon, or Fuji with all the bells and whistles for editorial and commercial work.
Are you a biker? What do you ride?
Yes, most definitely, I’m happiest on two wheels. With or without a motor, bikes are the best. I currently have a Triumph Street Triple R in matte black, that I love. But my heart is definitely in the classic bikes so I’m actively looking for an older Triumph Scrambler or Bonnieville…or perhaps a classic Moto Guzzi or BMW to add to the shed as well.
On the non-motorized side of things I have several bikes – an old SE Racing BMX bike, a Specialized DJ bike, Santa Cruz 5010 mountain bike, Masi fixed gear, and a Masi cyclocross bike.
The Motorcycle as an artistic Muse, more about this passion.
The motorcycle has all the qualities that engage me – the aesthetics of its lines and shapes, the sound of the engine, the smell of the combustion engine and the rubber of the tires, the response of the throttle and the flow that is created in ones mind when riding.
In photography, “getting in the zone” is the point at which everything clicks and you forget about the technicalities and the world outside of your viewfinder…that point at which you’ve found “flow”.
This feeling is similar to moments on the bike, when your total input into the handlebars, on the throttle, lean angle, trail braking, etc, equals your expectations and riding becomes free. For me long trips are good for this, I become one with my bike. It’s like thinking and not thinking at the same time…a zen sate for sure…and one I seek whether on my motorcycle, bike, or behind my camera.
Life goes by fast, and faster as I get older. When I’m on a motorcycle I have a higher awareness of this, as I’m moving through space, somehow achieving a feeling of flight without the wheels leaving the ground…my camera brings a similar awareness, as I capture moments in life.
What are the other great passions in your Life?
I enjoy working with my hands. When I’m not photographing, it’s the antithesis to pixels that I enjoy, like carpentry, working on house remodel projects, working on my motorcycle or bikes. It’s nice to have a tangible product that you created at the end of the day.
Travel as well…I can jump on my bike or hop in my truck and just point in any direction for hours…I was probably a long distance semi-truck driver or gypsy in a past life!
You travel a lot, what is your unforgettable travel experience?
My unforgettable travel experience, thus far, would have to be traveling through Spain, France, and Portugal with my family. My son was only just 3 years old at the time and it was super enjoyable to spend a month with him experiencing the various cultures.
In your active pics there’s a beautiful “dialogue” between humans and nature, you are able to capture the action celebrating nature too, isn’t it?
Thank you! I think that is the goal really, to have this relationship with our surroundings whether natural or urban that is positive. And to photograph it.
When I started out in photography I was interested in photojournalism, specifically the humanistic side focusing on humanities wrongs. I soon realized, however, that it wasn’t me, that my personality didn’t fit that style of photography. And so, I decided that I wanted to show the positive. Maybe I can inspire someone to “get out there”…that would be great.
Current Projects and Collabs.
I’m currently working on a three part zine project that should also culminate into a book. It will be a narrative of black and white images that will weave physical geography, culture, and emotion together…a visual story that will likely incorporate the moto in a part of the trilogy.
What will be your next shot?
My next shoot is an editorial shoot for a long time client. Funny enough, a shoot that will continue the “dialogue” between human and nature…thank you for that insight! I have to use it now.
…my way through life.
It has been everything to me – my ticket to experiences I would have never had without it, my tool to “see” life from many angles, my stress and anxiety reliever, my stress and anxiety causer, my money maker and money taker, but overall it’s the thread that hems my experiences together.
And for that I’m forever grateful.