Our friend AJ Wilkinson, is a professional photographer with many years experience. He had an exhibition scheduled. You’ll never guess what happened next? A global pandemic prevented his dream from coming true so we got our heads together to bring his work into the public space. Virtual gatherings have started to get a bit tiring of late so we decided to make something real.
AJ shoots with a film camera, so it didn’t seem appropriate to make an online exhibition. Print was the obvious move and we were happy to back the project with money to create a high quality book. A real thing to hold in hands and explore with eyes. The books smell good too. The first thing that AJ did when the books arrived at Hebtroco was to give his copy a good sniff.
A man’s kingdom is his shed. Some of us had dads who showed us the way to the shed and some didn’t. Either way it’s a path, if chosen, that’s littered with success and failure, methodical practice, skinned knuckles, broken dreams, many beers and the help of friends. Learning the shed life is just like learning how to be a man. The biker is often seen as macho, but there is a great deal of love, brotherhood and laughter there as well if you take the time to look.
This is a book of portraits. All the men featured here ride motorcycles, custom built creations, known around the world as choppers. The road to each of them building, fixing, owning and riding probably started as a boyhood fantasy. The thrill of the ride, especially for custom machines, is twinned with time spent in a shed or garage, hands getting dirty, making sure the machine runs and keeps on running. Choppers don’t work without careful regular maintenance. The project makes the man as much as the man makes the project.
There are no photos of bikes in Kingdom, but here are some of the machines with riders who took part in the project.
Kingdom is a book that tells its own story, with portraits of men and sheds combined with AJ’s text. The pages are joined together and you can peep inside to see the dreams and workings behind the faces and places. It’s a really nice thing.
Half the cover price of this book will go to Andy’s Man Club a charity for men’s mental health.