If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Michael Lichter, then welcome to biker land and congrats on the purchase of your first motorcycle. However, if you’re a fan of this famed photographer, then you’ve no doubt seen his amazing photos featured on the cover of practically every biker rag on the planet over the past three decades.
And that doesn’t even take into account his representation on countless Harley-Davidson publications. Why, his creative artistry has even graced the pages of our own “How J&P Changed the American Motorcycle Industry” book.
Along with his photography skills, Michael organizes a reoccurring exhibit at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis every year, featuring motorcycles as art and highlighting some of the more awe-inspiring creations in our industry. And this year’s exhibition, with the theme “Come Together, The Spirit of Born Free,” did not disappoint.
This summer’s exhibit referenced the relatively new but explosive SoCal show that features those smaller, perhaps lesser-known custom bike builders who rely on their innovation and fabrication skills rather than fat wallets. Their bikes generally retain a certain functionality and “themes” aren’t helicopter, fireman, baseball team, or insurance company related, just simply…build something cool. Lichter said his goal for this exhibition wasn’t to bring together the best bikes ever built, but to offer a representative showing of bikes that tell part of the story of the exhibit. He said the bikes on display were — for the most part — built by young builders to be lighter, simpler, cheaper, and easier to work on and ride.
I could bang away on this keyboard and try to explain in detail what these amazing machines consisted of but I wouldn’t do them justice in a thousand pages.
Check out the photos we snapped and bask in the glow of some kick ass bikes.