Urban Dirt Bikers: Spencer Murphy lifts the lid on London's most misunderstood subculture

in Inspiration / Photography

Whatever their ride – dirt bikes, quads, mopeds – tearing up tarmac and pulling stunts on industrial estates and city streets is self-expression. In the face of the law and a hostile public, they are united by a passion and a way of life that few outsiders appreciate. Acclaimed photographer Spencer Murphy explores the subculture of dirt bikers in London, capturing an unchartered underground 'BikeLife' scene that is growing in popularity.

Often hidden in industrial estates or disused airstrips where they won't draw too much unwanted attention from the public or the police, riders will gather on the weekends for secret ride-outs, demonstrating immense skill as they pull all manner of stunts. Murphy's accomplished portraits capture the style and attitude of a movement that is life or death for its followers, and his images are accompanied by a selection of quotes, giving us an insight into the minds of these thrill-seeking riders.

Spencer is a fine art and commercial photographer based in London. Best known for his portrait photography, in 2013 he won the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, his work having been selected for the exhibition six times beforehand. Spencer's personal work is often concerned with the notion of the outsider; those who live an alternative, rebel lifestyle away from – or in spite of – our preconceptions of what is deemed to be normal.

You can buy his new book, Urban Dirt Bikers, courtesy of independent publisher Hoxton Mini Press, via www.hoxtonminipress.com.

All images courtesy of Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy

Book cover | © Spencer Murphy

Book cover | © Spencer Murphy

Close