5 February 2008
Copenhagen Cycle Chic FAQs
We often get questions about various aspects of the blog. We thought we may as well answer them all at once.
WHO ARE THE BLOGGERS?
Mikael started the blog back in 2007, along with Copenhagenize.com, coining the phrase Cycle Chic in the process, and quite by accident. Read more about how it all started right here.
We have some friends who blog for us as well. Mary, Andreas, Lars, for example. We also have many visitors who send us guest photos of cycle chic from around the world.
HOW DID THE BLOG START?
The photos came first. One photo in particular started it all off. Mikael has been involved in street photography for some time and one day he snapped a fellow cyclist in the morning rush hour. All at once a theme, a visual style and a subject was born.
The original concept remains in place. Recording the daily life of Copenhagen's bike culture by shooting street photography while on our bikes. We never ride around looking for subject matter, all of our photos are taken while we are in the midst of a commute to work, to the supermarket, to a party, what have you.
HOW DO YOU SUM UP THE GOAL OF THE BLOG?
We started out by calling it "Social Documentary in High Heels" - highlighting the stylish streetsmart of Copenhagen women. There was a lot of interest for the photos on various bike groups over at Flickr.com and, when we started the blog, we were surprised to see how many popped by to have a look. Most were bike-related visitors and we soon discovered that Copenhagen bike culture was something people were fascinated by.
It evolved organically into the "Bike Advocacy in High Heels" angle - interestingly enough because that was the angle the visitors gave us. We realised that making urban biking look effortless - which it is in Copenhagen - was an inspiration to people abroad who wished for the same thing where they live.
With that said, there is a streetstyle element inherent in the blog. What are Copenhageners wearing? Denmark has always been a design mecca and fashion is a major export, so we found that many visitors were looking at that. Which is cool.
WHY DO YOU TAKE SO MANY PHOTOS FROM THE BACK?
The original photo was taken like this and the visual concept stuck for while.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
As mentioned we are, by and large, on our bikes while we shoot. Waiting for the light to change, flying along the bike lanes. It's a practical issue, really. It's a tad difficult to take photos backwards while riding a bike.
Besides, we like the aesthetic value of the shots from behind. We are inspired by two specific artistic angles:
One is 'Rückenfigur' - German for 'back figure'. It's a concept often related to romantic painters such as Caspar David Friedrich and aims to make visible what the person featured is looking at.
The other one originates with the Chinese poet Zhu Ziqing and his poem 'Seeing Father From The Back' from 1925. There is a term in Chinese called 'Backsight', meaning basically the same thing as 'rückenfigur'.
With all that said, we now take photos from all angles, looking for shots that sum up the essence of "Cycle Chic".
WHAT IS THE GENRE OF THIS BLOG?
Good question. What started out as a social documentary of the chic inhabitants of Copenhagen's bike lanes has developed into a kind of streetstyle blog as well as a bike advocacy blog.
We choose to focus on the chic female cyclists of the city - although we do feature many men - because, well, we like chic female cyclists. They embody the freedom of a bike culture. Cycling in high heels to work or a party, skirts a'flowing, hair a'waving. It is the complete opposite of bike 'culture' in other countries.
We like this quote:
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood." - Susan B. Anthony, American Suffragist, 1896.
We aim to highlight that bike culture is an effortless pursuit. No lycra needed. No fancy gear. Just get out and ride. Style over Speed. Man or Woman.
It is worth mentioning that we're not alone. We're not the only ones attracted to the sight of women on bikes. It's ingrained in Danish culture.
We have been interviewed a couple of times and you're welcome to read this interview for Fine Art Fashion Blog [you'll have to scroll down or page search for 'copenhagen'].
The same interview is translated into French on the Café Mode blog on L'Express' website.
Then there is a cool interview with Momentum Magazine out of Vancouver which can be read online here.