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I have a saying, for me to compete in the marketplace, I have to outwork 99.9% of all other photographers on the planet. This is my only hope for success.

To rely on this vague notion of talent or this concept of creative genius, is futile. It comes down to how many hours I apply towards my end goal. This is why I try to create a body of work in a series. I have learned that if I take a subject matter and repeat it over and over two significant things happen.

First, I become an expert with the genre I am photographing. With every failed experience, I get closer to producing images that will fulfill my vision as an artist and get to my end result. This takes tons of hard work and perseverance. In the end, success comes by repetition.

Second, a series of images stand stronger than any one single image. Creating a body of work gives me a greater opportunity to infiltrate the marketplace, and gets noticed more than one killer image. I also know that this body of work cannot be accomplished overnight, so I am in it for the long haul. This takes an exorbitant amount of commitment and fortitude.

In the summer of 2017, I set out for 100 consecutive days traveling across America photographing motorcycle riders and their bikes. In the end, I crossed 36 states and logged in over 13,000 miles absorbing a personal cost of over $30,000. The biggest challenge for this project was not the actual shooting process, but the recruiting process. With each town we entered, my assistant and I had to knock on doors, following leads that would eventually get us the subjects and bikes to photograph. It was three to four days of leg work to every day of shooting. I often say the photographic process is more about the art of recruiting than it is about snapping pictures.

Motorcycle outside of the Magic Beach Motel
Magic Beach Motel. Vilano Beach, St Augustine Fl
Green motorcycle on brick road

For the main image of the 1947 vintage motorcycle in the old steel mill, I used a Canon 5DSR with the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens. I shifted the lens left and right creating two different images and then used Adobe® Photoshop® to stitch them together, creating one final ultra high-resolution megapixel panorama image.

1947 vintage motorcycle in old steel mill

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Photos from Joel Grimes' 100-Day Journey Across America

Blue Flathead motorcycle inside mill
Portrait of Ed McClannan
Green motorcycle on a brick road
Motorcycle outside of a motel with neon lights
Doorway with view of motorcycle in the distance
Portrait of a man with cowboy hat
Motorcycle outside of a round building
Portrait of Steven Harpen
Motorcycle against a blue night sky and oceanside
Motorcycle with countryside and barn background

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Canon Explorer of Light - Joel Grimes

Joel Grimes discusses his career and passion for photography in our series of videos introducing our Explorers of Light.

For more information on Joel, please visit his Explorers of Light bio page.

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Beauty Portraits with Joel Grimes and the Canon EOS R

Join Canon Explorer of Light Joel Grimes as he takes you through his portraits session with the Canon EOS R and Canon tilt-shift lenses. Go behind the scenes throughout the entire workflow; from capture, to edit, to print.

To learn more, visit https://Canon.us/u398q.

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