One of the best parts of my job working for Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® and BAM, Free Breakdown and Legal Assistance for Motorcyclists, is that I am able to travel to great places in the United States and meet fascinating people. Our BAM booth was at the Washington Harley Dealership on Saturday May 29 and next to our booth was Q-Ball. Some may know him at Good Shot Q-Ball or as Doug Barber. However you know him one thing is certain, he is an incredibly talented photographer. Having him as a booth neighbor made our day at Harley all that more interesting.
I have on my kitchen table a copy (signed copy) of ‘Living the Life’. A book of black and white photos by Q-Ball (Doug Barber) and poems by Sorez the Scribe. It opens to a fantastic black and white photo of bikers lounging around a porch and a motorcycle. Black and white photography aint easy to master. A good photographer uses this type of shot to explore shapes, tones and textures. Shadows, the object of the photo and highlights become very important and Q-Ball nails this. It makes total sense that he is referred to as “Good Shot Q-Ball”. His photos are not of weekend warrior bikers but of hard core bikers – the real deal.
Born 1949 in New York State, Q-Ball grew up in a military family which meant living all over the United States. He bought his first camera, and motorcycle in 1965 in Okinawa Japan where he barely graduated from high school. Moving every 2 years made him a bit of an outcast. But he had an art teacher that saw some talent in him and pushed him towards his passion of photography.
Q-Ball attended The Maryland Institute College of Art on a full scholarship, thanks in part to his high school art teacher, and being poor. While attending art school he was inspired by the work of Danny Lyon “The Bike rider”.
After art school while working in a Baltimore camera shop he was approached by an officer of a 1% motorcycle club. The club was looking for someone they could trust to photograph the national mandatory run, and funeral for their sergeant of arms. Clubs do not like having photos taken, but they wanted to honor the wishes of the family. After a final briefing by the president of the club, Q-Ball was allowed to record this major event, but all the film stayed with the club. This life altering experience got him hooked on spending the next 30 years sharing the road with the old school, and hard core bikers.
Q-Ball spent time as a patch holder riding, partying, and mixing it up with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Never regretting a moment, he found brotherhood, and respect for those who would make citizens cross the street to avoid them. As much as he loves the life as a biker, he is also a husband and father. To provide for his family he has spent years doing commercial work as Doug Barber Photographer, winning awards, getting published, and being a provider.
In 2004 he was invited to show his biker photography at the The Susquehanna Art Museum in a show “Motorcycles & Art”. Since then he has had several shows, and numerous invitations to show his work. His biker photography has been seen in many motorcycle magazines including a year of covers plus calendar for Hot Bike Japan. He has been sharing his work with the biker world on his web site VtwinBiker.com, but this is the first time his photography will be available as high quality reproductions.
Many people over many years tried to get Q-Ball to publish his photos in a book. But one issue in Q-Balls mind was what/who’s words could accompany this raw and beautiful shots. His friendship with Eddie Sorez brought the final touches to a timeless book. Eddie Sorez, or Sorez the Scribe writes biker poetry. Before meeting Q-Ball in Washington, DC I would have never thought there was such a thing but here I am being awed by it.
More than just a way of life
This life I live this bike I ride
More than tats upon my skin
They tell a tale where I’ve been
More than just the words I Scribe
Down to the earth the poems I write
More then just a broken heart
When my ol’ lady died in my arms
More than just the Patch I wear
Above my heart upon my vest
There is so much more to my life
Than being labeled “Just Another Biker”
Just Another Biker by Eddie Sorez
Q-Ball’s hope is that this collaborative work will be accepted by all as a portrait of the human struggle for freedom, and expression.
I love collecting black and white photos of real people during real life moments and I will be adding Q-Balls work to my collection.
You can see more of his fantastic work at http://www.vtwinbiker.com/
Get the amazing book ‘Living the Life’
Rolling Thunder, Washington DC 2010 photos
and if you want to see some of his amazing commercial photography, go to his Doug Barber website.
I have met many great people in my motorcycle travels over the years but not many effect my soul, Q-Ball did just that.
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