Is it possible for a bicycle to possess a soul? When so much of people’s daily jaunts, business errands or even free-spirited riding often relies on the use of two sturdy wheels, there is more to this form of transportation than simply metal and rubber.
Italians and their psyches have always been moved, in many ways, by la bicicletta.
So it is with these “City Cycles,” a collection of portraits captured with clarity and affection by photographer Peter Galante. Each frame is a window into one unguarded moment in the life of the hard-working bicycles of Toscana: the seeming slouch of one, resting on its kickstand between trips that, no doubt, repeatedly fill, then empty, then fill its basket again. Then there are others, which flash their colors, almost defiantly, against the splash of urban graffiti where they have been parked and secured by lock and chain. The city has left some of these bicycles bruised; others, with parts missing. Suddenly, into this showcase of the shapely and the misshapen comes the humor of the folding bike, followed by a handful of others sporting their in-your-face neon hues.
This is the cityscape that serves as Peter Galante’s portrait studio, and his working class subjects seem at ease in their natural element here. He has carefully crafted a compendium that holds these cycles long enough to tell their various stories in the lexicon of simple imagery and contrasts. And then, with the very same deference, the photographer releases each one back into its journey onward.
Caryn Eve Murray
Peter Galante holds a MFA in Studio Art from Colorado State University and a PhD in Higher Education from Cardinal Stritch University. He serves as the photography program director at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he teaches photography and publication design.