“Unititled” by Carl Hensel

With the change in the world, I had to reinvent myself. The bodybuilding industry being heavily impacted, meant that my physique photography ground to a halt.

I had to find another stream of income.

I learned many years ago, that if you come up with something unique, then you can create a business out of it.

Being a passionate motorcycle rider, it was a target audience that I understood. So I set about creating a 1950’s old school motorcycle garage scene in my studio… affectionately known as “Carl’s Garage”.

It has completely replaced the lost income and is now the main focus of my business.

When bikers come to work with me, it is quite often the very first time they have ever stood in a photo studio. I simply ask them to look into the lens… no expression, no posing… just look.

A person’s story is in their eyes, their smile lines, their scars and their whiskers… that is the story I want to capture.

Yes, I enjoy shooting their stunning motorcycles, but the portraits of the bikers themselves are amazing to capture. When they realize that they do not have to smile, it is like a weight is lifted off their leather clad shoulders.

I have chosen five men here, all with completely different life stories, written into their beautiful faces

I have shot nearly 300 bikers in this series now and I plan to publish a stunning book of the series one day. Along the way, I have gathered a small part of their life stories to share in this book as well.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

The eye contact and the simplicity of the light, the same setup for each person, make each portrait a story in itself. You are not looking at a clever light setup… You are drawn into the subject.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

No changes required.

Carl Hensel shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Carl Hensel, Newcastle Australia.


Equipment and settings

Canon 5D Mark IV, f16, ISO 100
Lit with 3 – 3200 watt second monoblocks diffused through a 4 meter square white scrim from above.

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Comments (1):

  1. Terrance Wimmer

    August 23, 2021 at 19:42

    I’ve admired your work since I first joined Frames… both the motorcycle work and the physique work. I used to own a Norton 750 Commando a long time ago and your photos remind me of just how thrilling that was. The physique work… well… maybe in the next life. Thanks.


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