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Born and raised to a middle class family in Hollywood California, Derek Althen remembers that his infatuation with vintage bikes started from somewhat of an early age. His father, an Architectural Illustrator by trade, had a couple of vintage bikes. He remembers, at the age 6 or 7, the beautiful peril of sitting on top the gas tank for a ride to the park as his father held control of the bike. He recalls the thrill of speeding up the street helmetless, the wind blowing rampant yet with elegance against his face. As he grew older he began to realize, that art was his saving grace. Attending Hollywood high, basic academia was monotonous and mundane. If it weren’t for the arts he might’ve not graduated high school. One of his most influential art teachers “Grace Styles,” pushed him to continue his education in the arts after high school. He then went on to study graphic design at Otis Art Institute. At the institute one of his professors was teaching a course in studio lighting. Derek decided to take the course absent of the idea that this would be the beginning a life long love. After 20 plus years in commercial photography, shooting mostly fashion and beauty; He decided it was time for something different. On a location fashion shoot he noticed a 1928 Harley Davidson JD hill climber in the corner of the shop, and was attracted to it from the stories it had to tell. Each nick and scratch and layer of dust and inches of rust was an anecdote. With all of its character it almost had human like persona, so he asked to photograph the bike. This soon spiraled into a fine art series entailing dozens of portraits of vintage cycles.

The Process.

I spend two to three hours photographing each motorcycle. I create 60-100 images, lighting individual parts to bring out high detail. I then combine bits & pieces of those images into one photograph. This compositing process takes an additional 80-100 hours to create the final image. The final image is printed on gloss aluminum giving the photos an almost 3-D appearance.

After many test prints on a variety of materials, I settled on ChromaLuxe® aluminum prints for several reasons. Firstly, the image clarity, color, detail, and resolution is exceptional.  Secondly, the archival qualities are 4x that of silver halide photo papers like Fuji and Kodak (Wilhelm Imaging independent Research).

This is extremely important to me. As a fine art Photographer I need to be able to assure my collectors that my prints will last for generations.

Lastly ChromaLuxe® aluminum prints are the perfect choice for high moisture areas and are easy to clean. Household cleaner can be sprayed directly on the surface and wiped with a microfiber cloth as needed.

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