If you have been living under a rock and don't know who Cicero deGuzman Jr. is you may want to type in your Google search bar "Godspeed 45/06" and get your mind blown for a bit. I have looked up to Cicero as an artist for a pretty long time. Not only is he an amazing artist that captures the true essence of motorcycles and it's culture but he is one hell of an amazing human being too. The way that he looks at photography is something special with a real distinctness. After a while you start seeing a lot black and white chopper photos and immediately you know which ones are Cicero's. With countless bikes and people he has shot, I feel like his portfolio and computer's hard drive must be to the breaking limit of awesomeness. Cicero's dedication to the motorcycle scene over the years has been truly a remarkable thing to witness and also really inspirational to me as an artist. I am so excited to announce Cicero deGuzman Jr. will be showcasing some of his work at Fuel Cleveland, May 9th. We had a little one-on-one interview the other day and this is what came of it. Enjoy!
Cicero deGuzman Jr., where do you call home? Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in San Jose, California and have called Brooklyn, New York home for a little more than 20 years now. I'm 44 years old, husband to Katie, father to Rush, and sidekick to my dog Rivet.
I have always wondered this, why 'Godspeed 45/06' and what is the significance of the numbers associated?
C: Honestly? It's just about time. I guess all of my photography is about collecting pieces of time. My father passed, and I became obsessed with time. He lived from 1945-2006, and believed in me much more than I could believe in myself, so the 45/06 was just a nod to him and what he meant to me.
When did photography and motorcycles become such a big part of your life? Is there history there or something that kind of found you.
C: My mom gave me a camera when I was about 15. A 35mm Minolta. I've always liked taking pictures for fun, I think it gives guys like me an excuse to hang out. My entire professional career has been spent as an art director, choreographing images for clients with photographers. When I started shooting bikes, which was only a few years ago, I did it because I wanted an opposite outlet to all that.
Where has been your favorite place and/or time to shoot a bike?
C: I kind of like being in places that aren't perfectly scenic. Busy cities. Messy garages. It's easier for me when things are moving, when people are doing things and not paying attention to the camera. That all helps to bring some spontaneity to the photograph.
What is your dream bike or do you have it already?
C: Yeah, I'm in love with my bike. And I don't want to hurt her feelings by talking about another one.
When did you learn how to shoot and ride at the same time?
C: Man, I still haven't learned to! I've got so much respect for all you guys that do. It really makes the photograph that much heavier.
When you do color photos I noticed you wash a lot of it out and add just a bit of saturation to one or two main colors, it’s really cool man. Do you like black and white photography more but feel some need that tiny touch of color or is it just sometimes what you are feeling that day?
C: I love the way a black and white image kind of asks you to learn its story. And I like that I have more control over the values -I can move reds towards black, or I can move yellows to white. But sometimes you just can't ignore the color. So I keep it, but I mute it down.
What and/or who inspires you and your vision?
C: Photographically? Too many documentary and street photographers to mention. Photographers like Hedi Slimane, Nick Maggio, Michael Schmidt, Scott Pommier, and Mark Choiniere all got me takin' notes. Apart from photography? That'll just go on and on. I trip on how good people can be at shit.
Is there any messages or things that you try to say with your images at all, or do you leave it to the eye of the beholder?
C: I don't think there are any messages yet. Maybe when we're all a little older, we can look at a couple of my photos and remember what a good time it all was.
What's next for you? Any plans on a 5th book, or any other awesome things in the works?
C: Yeah, if I can fill another book, I will. I'd really like to do some video this year. Hit a few new places. Ohio. Texas. Meet some new folks, have a few laughs.
What has been some of your biggest challenges for you as an artist and getting your vision to be seen?
C: Just getting it done. The hardest part is making the choice to be somewhere with someone and just shoot. It's too easy to stay home.
I feel like you have seen every bike in the world with your humungous portfolio, Who's bike or bikes were some of your all time favorite and why?
C: It's neat getting a personal tour of a bike from it's builder. I like the stories behind every detail. The hidden tricks. The provenance of certain parts. When you see a bike by someone like Brandon Casquilho or Paul Cox... the level of craftsmanship is way past remarkable, but my personal favorites always tend to be the banged up leaky deathtraps that are just loved and ridden.
Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?
C: All my love to my mom, my wife, my son, my dog. And my motorcycle.
Be sure to check out Cicero deGuzman's work at Fuel Cleveland on May 9th, and you can see and buy more of his amazing photos at www.Godspeed4506.com