From HA Sports. A lean Babe Ruth when he was pitching for the Boston Red Sox. Current Bid: $70,000. Ruth was paid $3,500 in 1916 by the Red Sox. The most he ever made was $80,000. An outrageous sum back in the 1930′s.
– babe ruth
How long have you been shooting cars and how did this become your specialty?
It wasn’t by design. I started at track events just because I love to see vintage cars on the track, but not being affiliated with a major publication means I have to get creative with location and track access. I never really had any interest to shoot cars in outdoor environments – I am too particular about things like light and shadows, plus there are plenty of “guy with a camera” type photographers out there already. Basically my collection of cars grew too big so I needed space, and that’s when I decided to build out my own studio space for the single purpose of shooting cars the way I wanted to shoot them.
Your shots play a lot with highlights and shadows. What’s your process, and typically how long does it take for you to shoot a car?
There’s a saying that to know a car design, you should hand wash it to really understand the lines and the art that went into the design. I like to bring attention to those aspects of car design that’s where my thought process starts. For each car I then take time to discover new shots – most cars have already been over photographed, so I ask myself what can I bring that’s new for all to see? How long that takes doesn’t matter and isn’t even thought of. I’ve gone back to the studio in the middle of the night just to re-shoot something particular that I discovered during post, just to get the shot right.
My name is Ian Sutton and Icarus frames is the culmination of my training and experience in the frame building world. I began building when I left college to attend the Yamaguchi Frame Building School in Rifle, Colorado. The training was 100% one-on-one with one of the greats in frame building, working with Koichi Yamaguchi learning the basics from start to finish, along with the art and nuance too. Later that year I visited builders I admired and wanted to work for to talk about the industry and decide if I should work on my own or gain more experience with a high-end custom builder. I was offered a job working for the esteemed Seven Cycles in Watertown, MA.
I left everything behind to take that jump into the frame building world and worked first as a finisher and then later advanced to a machinist. I finished and machined hundreds of frames adhering to Sevens’ rigorous quality standards. After hours I started building my own concept frames and I called it Icarus, setting up a studio in the Geekhouse shop in Allston. There I was able to further experiment with design and transfer my ideas to real world use.
Your first bike?
I know it wasn’t my first but the one I can remember specifically was a Magna mountain bike with the grip shift when I was 8 years old.
How did you get interested in building bikes?
I became interested while in school for engineering and was riding a lot. I decided that I didn’t want to just design things, I wanted to fabricate them too. I have always had a hard time finding the cool vintage frames in my size so it made sense to learn to make them myself.
For those of us not familiar with Koichi Yamaguchi, can you tell us about him and what it was like to learn from him?
Koichi Yamaguchi is THE master frame builder. He started out building for 3Rensho in Japan and works with a low-heat, low-stress building style that was the opposite of what the Italians were doing. He was the lead designer and builder for the US Olympic and national teams back when they still rode steel. I was intimidated to work with him one on one (I was the only student at the time) but he is a humble and patient teacher. He taught me the skills and tricks to build strong, straight frames with the simplest tools and I still use those techniques today.
After attending Yamaguichi’s school, you then went to work at Seven Cycles in Massachusetts. What was that experience like, and what did you learn while you there?
I was really fortunate to land that job at Seven Cycles. I started out as a finisher which meant doing all the final machining, Titanium/Carbon bonding, frame alignment, polishing and decals. Its a steep learning curve and for the first few months, the inspector would send every frame back to me with a list of minuscule defects for me to fix. Everything had to be flawless before it could be shipped out and that taught me to scrutinize my work at a whole new level. I was also part of the A6 Carbon program there but after the first year, I moved to the machining department and became proficient in operating lathes, milling machines, hydraulic benders and frame jigs. I think that process increased my ability to multi-task and work with tooling faster.
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About Gunther Maier:
I have an insane love for motorcycles, cars, and things that are made well. I’m sure this is rooted in my heritage.
I grew up in Ulm, Germany. I never made it to the Bauhaus school, but I did have a taste of the second coming of Bauhaus at the “HFG” Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Unfortunately, the year I applied the school closed due to lack of funding.
I decided to become a photographer’s apprentice. I spent three years learning the skill, hanging out in the darkroom for hours and hours after work developing my own photos and experimenting with the art- fully supported and encouraged by the company I worked for at the time.
From there I went back to school for Design and basic ad skills in Stuttgart. Then I packed my bags, moved to NYC and snagged a Mad Men job with a German ad agency. I created ads and TV spots for Mercedes-Benz, Porsche Design and Jägermeister, just to name a few. I’m proud to say the Mercedes-Benz work is now a part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. Later I opened my own agency in Philadelphia with 3 other partners and run it successfully for almost 10 years.
There’s this saying on your site, “To begin is easy, to persist is art.” I’ve never heard that saying before, but it’s so true.
Yes…it’s one thing to have an idea, but quite another to commit the time and energy to bring it to fruition. This is especially true of the right-brain-minded, those people fueled more by passion than process. The art happens when we allow the process to run it’s life cycle; when we don’t give up; when we continue to see a vision through to its natural end. All the while hoping that end is just the beginning.
So, I looked it up, and it’s a German proverb.
My father loved to make use of proverbs, and actually that one was used in our house a lot….
Another quote from your site, “His rich German accent, clothed with his free-spirited American attitude, hint at his uncanny ability to transcend boundaries and origin.” Can you elaborate about your acquired “American” attitude?
My strict German upbringing taught me to follow the rules, don’t cross the line (that’s a famous Mazda television spot)…so you can imagine how delighted I was to land in America where success is measured by the rules you break and lines you cross.
My love for Germany runs deeps, but I never had a much of a problem assimilating to the freedom and ease of an American lifestyle.