The Self Centered Man
For several years this was Matthew Welsh's blog site created to share with other guys individual stories on interesting people, places, and things he come across.
The new owner of the domain was intrigued with Welsh's blogs and pics and decided to continue sharing an edited version of the original content from the site's 2012-2013 archived pages providing a brief glimpse of what this site offered its readership.
LIVING LIFE THROUGH THE BEAUTY OF MOTORCYCLES, GUITARS, WOMEN & MUSIC
My name is Matthew Welsh. Born in Washington DC, cut my teeth on the streets of New York City, and now raising hell in Los Angeles. While in the Big Apple, I met this dude Bob Malvin who although he worked for the best rug cleaning local pros in NYC service in the city, he was much more than a rug cleaner - he had an attitude about life that was compelling and contagious. He convinced his boss to hire me part time and so while doing the dirty work of cleaning people's carpets, we spent a lot of time together, bullshitting about life and our goals. He convinced me that there were a lot of guys out there just like us who would love a website where they could read about stuff we cared about and that if I built it, they would come. I thought about it, and decided he was right.
I wanted to start a blog where guys can peruse and find cool stuff online that they don’t necessarily have time to look for. Vintage items on ebay, stories from other blogs on car racing, motorcycles, etc… The goal is to find out more about the people behind the items we love. The site is for individual stories on interesting people, places, and things I come across. For a daily dose of what we love join us on FACEBOOK HERE or follow us on INSTAGRAM @theselfcenteredman
Still interested? I also run Killdisco Design, a full service web design and application firm which also offers print design and photography. Our clients include Russian Standard Vodka, Maynard James Keenan, Yves Saint Laurent, Ben Mezrich, La Bella Strings, EBay etc..
I live in New York City and Los Angeles. I am currently riding a customized 1970 Triumph T100c desert sled through the streets of Los Angeles and trying every day to not lane split at 70mph on Trials Tires. Rock.
Check out Matthew Welsh's Linkedin page, www.linkedin.com/in/killdisco, if you want to know what's he's been up to for the last ten years.
Hell On Wheels MX Rally 2013
This year’s “Hell On Wheels” vintage MX rally was one hell of a good time. As the hot early summer sun started its way across the sky, the bikes started pouring in. We grabbed our camera’s, an ice cold beer, and held on for dear life. Thanks to Deus Ex Machina for sheltering me from the heat and good times as well as Dimitri Coste for providing laughs throughout. Enjoy.
Bell Helmets and Roland Sands Give One Lucky Recipient An Amazing Ride
Ron Mercurio, a 41-year-old former Navy SEAL turned small-business owner, sent in his entry that was selected from thousands of stories of why they should get the dream bike makeover of a lifetime. Mercurio was ...
TSCM / QCMW Colab T-SHIRT
We are partnering up with Quaker City Motor Works to put out a limited run T-shirt this month. ”Just Add Oil” tee is now available for sale until Tuesday, April 9th. For sizing and buy ...
Reader’s Rides: January
Our first installment of “Reader’s Rides” comes all the way from Portugal! When we were sent this tricked out Guzzi we just couldn’t resist asking for more photos and info on the mods. The reader ...
Bonhams 2013 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auctions
Well here we are again. A year later and still having regrets of bikes not purchased at last year’s Bonham’s auctions. This year wasn’t to disappoint other than the fact that RM Auctions weren’t there ...
Easyriders Bike Tour / Anaheim
We stopped by the Easyriders bike tour show in Anaheim and rattled off a couple shots. Enjoy Tweet
A collection of Motorcycle logos from days past
We thought we’d use some downtime to showcase some classic motorcycle logos. Have more suggestions? Let us know.
I read Matthew Welsh's blog for a few years when I was a student at the Department of Photography and Imaging (DPI) in Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He turned me onto the photography work of Ray Gordon among others. I graduated and moved to Australia to work at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Australia's pre-eminent galleries for the exhibition of contemporary photo-based arts. CCP was established in 1986 by the photographic community as a not-for-profit exhibition and resource centre. During the lockdowns in Melbourne at the start of the Covid pandemic and off and on since I spent a lot of time online trying to distract myself from the reality of what was happening outside. I watched a lot of movies, and like many Australians turned to online gambling sites when the local social clubs were shut down. Every Thursday I check the information at Online-Casino-Party.co to see the weekly promotions at my favorite online casinos. I would say I am a real money poker and pokie player like many of my compatriots. More than 80% of the adult population enjoy some form of gambling; from casinos to sports betting, playing the pokies to taking a punt on the lotto. Australia has over 60 licensed casinos, with a presence in every state, and a large contingent of world-class facilities in NSW and Queensland that rival any of those in the United States. But during the lock downs everything was closed. There are thousands of smaller venues where you can find pokies, slot machines, and other betting games. Also closed.
Since all my friends and neighbors were stuck at home as I was, I decided to start photographing them while they gambled at home. Perhaps the documentary photographer Martin Amis inspired me. He spent 13 years visiting race courses in a number of countries to capture the idiosyncratic tribe of horse-racing enthusiasts. I love his work. I was constrained by the lockdown, but the project has kept me busy. I'm no Ray Gordon, let alone Martin Amis, but photography plays is an important part in my life. And although Matthew Welsh's blog didn't start me on my creative path, it was an inspiration. Oh, and I do ride a Yamaha YTZ690! Sweet.
Bell Helmets and Roland Sands Give One Lucky Recipient An Amazing Ride
Ron Mercurio, a 41-year-old former Navy SEAL turned small-business owner, sent in his entry that was selected from thousands of stories of why they should get the dream bike makeover of a lifetime. Mercurio was the winner of Bell Helmets and Roland Sands’ ‘Bell Star Treatment’ contest which gave the winner a trip to the Roland Sands Design (RSD) headquarters in Los Angeles where he collaborated with Roland Sands himself on a customization plan for Ron’s 1987 Harley Davidson FXLR.
The results were stunning and we were there to capture the moment Ron got on his newly customized ride. Enjoy.
The Doctor Is In: Dr Smooth Death on Instagram
There is an unnamed artist hiding amongst the unlimited sea of shittiness in the Instagram library of photography. Once in awhile work pops up that shows someone knows exactly what they are doing. When I came across the mobile photography of “DrSmoothDeath” on Instagram, I immediately knew I had to follow him/her. The composition of shots is unmistakable and reveals the beauty of “if you are going to fake medium format, then shoot like medium format.”
The premise? DrSmoothDeath’s library is a collection of car portraits from each day, framed very similarly around Portland, OR, and taken with an iPhone. All we know is that the shots are from Portland, OR. I hope to meet up with said ‘Doctor’ on my next trip to the area. In the meantime you can view some work here or check out Instagram’s short interview.
Bonhams 2013 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auctions
Well here we are again. A year later and still having regrets of bikes not purchased at last year’s Bonham’s auctions. This year wasn’t to disappoint other than the fact that RM Auctions weren’t there to saturate the market place and lower prices like last year. But hell, where else are you going to find this many vintage motorcycles in one room up for sale in the states? Along with amazing buys came the usual, annoying ballroom lighting mixed with flourecents, pompass European buyers peacocking around the room while the auctions were going on, a lack of affordable eats, and of course,…. the worst carpets this photographer has ever had to deal with. That being said I got to meet up with a ton of great like-minded friends and bloggers whom I only run into these days at events.
The highlights of the auction block this year for me was the cover story on this year’s Bonham’s guide, a 1939 BMW RS 255 Kompressor fetching $480,000 after auction’s closing as well as one of only four known Steve Mcqueen original Husqvarna 400 cross’s. So sit back and enjoy the photos. There was a lot to take in with over 200 motorcycles passing the block.
An Interview With Ray Gordon: The Man Behind The Lens
Recognize this photo? Well if you’ve been on the internet in the past year you’ve probably had this photo inadvertently cross your path in one form or another. Bloggers and online magazines ranging from fashion to lifestyle to motorcycles, have featured this image in one-way or another. There is just something so mesmerizing about this shot that goes beyond the love of motorcycles, 60’s air bagged pickups, or even dare devilish childhood stunts. It is the conceptual realization of an out of place subject matter that does it for me.
The photographer is Ray Gordon. Ray’s recent work titled, “Throttled,” has been making its rounds throughout the web with rave reviews. With a little googling and an unwildered sense of attraction to find more about the shot shown above as well as the man who shot it, I started to unravel more information than just a guy who takes motorcycle photos.
I managed to track Ray down in Oregon and explained that I wasn’t just another blogger. I don’t even really consider this website a blog. More of a magazine in my opinion. Anyway… I explained that I was a photographer and motorcyclist that really wanted to know more about some of these shots and Ray’s process and background. Ray Gordon’s shots seem to bring out an enthusiastic approach to the “uh-oh” factor… these aren’t static images.. they are crafted moments in a life that many of us secretly yearn to be a part of…
So with that said, here are twenty questions with Photographer Ray Gordon by The Self-Centered Man. Enjoy..
1. TSCM: What was the first year you considered to yourself that you were a “professional” in your field.
RG: It was the year that I decided that I sucked at working for other people because I knew what I needed out of life and they didn’t. It wasn’t their fault. It was 1996.
2. TSCM: What would you say your “go-to” camera is at the moment. The one that you favor over the others when you shoot. Are you particular on a certain lens when shooting non-commercial subject matter?
RG: I always use the same set up. Canon 1DS’ or 5D with a 24-70 2.8L. Every once in a while I’ll go to something wider if the situation permits or for portraits I like a 50mm 1.4 fixed. I am not a big technical nerd so I like to keep my toolbox simple.
3. TSCM: Do you collect cameras? If so are there any that you just couldn’t live with out.
RG: I have a collection of old cameras. Rollieflex’s, 50’s and 60’s 35mm’s, Polaroid Land Cameras, Toy cameras and my first camera a Nikon FA. I pull them out when I feel like I need to remember who I am. I started out using those cameras to build my book. There was no such thing as digital and I was poor. They made you think. You had to know what you are doing. It was more of a craft than it is now with digital. But I’m not over romantic about it. I like digital way more. I like to be out shooting and enjoying myself. I love instant gratification. It helps me sleep at night.
4. TSCM: Film vs Digital… when to use when not to use.
RG: I hate to say it but film is done. It is over. I shoot about 10 rolls a year as a novelty. Good luck trying to get a client to let you shoot film. The sad thing is that film always looks better than digital but nobody gives a shit.
5. TSCM: We were fortunate enough to get to know your work through your motorcycle photography. Do you ride and if so what are you riding at the moment? Cars?
RG: I have two big piles of awesome unfinished metal right now. Both are on the fast track to completion. One pile is a 1968 BSA that is being built by Thor Drake at SeeSee Motorcycles in Portland Or http://seeseemotorcycles.com/ and the other pile is a 1951 Chevy Business coupe that Cody Adams at Adams Hot Rod Rubber/Hurst Racing Tires in Oregon City Oregon http:// hurstracingtires.com/ He is turning into a 60’s inspired 600 H.P. Gasser style drag car. Both are on a collision course to be done at the same time. *Ray’s ’51 Chevy Coupe
6. TSCM: On your portfolio site you have work…. And then Throttled. Can you tell us a little more about your throttled series and how it came about and where you showed the series.
RG: The folks at Wieden+Kennedy Portland http://www.wk.com/ asked me to do a show in their lobby gallery. Long story short… The show date was rapidly approaching. I had to come up with something fast. I went with what I knew best, my life of being around cars and bikes and partying. My “THROTTLED” series was me just looking inward, digging up some old photos and making some new ones to carry the theme. The show to my surprise was really well received. They tell me it was the biggest opening (amount of people) that they have had. From there I wanted to take it to LA. Enter Corey Smith. I am one of the artists on Comune Clothing’s http:// thecomune.com “Drop City Artists” team. They’re good to me and really support all of their artists. I gave Corey a call and he set up the THROTTLED LA show. So much fun. I think that when you are authentic and do something true yourself people will always respond positively.
*pieces from the “Throttled” shows.
7. TSCM: There is a shot in particular that has been used all throughout the motorcycle blog world for the past year of the (Yamaha? Correct me ) flat tracker/brat about 3 feet off the ground. Tell us about this shoot and how did it come about? Who is the man behind the helmet? Location?
RG: Good eye. That is my good friend Thor Drake flying through the air on that modified Yamaha SR500 in front of his shop in Portland Oregon. http://whoisthor.com/ He is the owner of See See motorcycles http://seeseemotorcycles.com/. He built that bike to be all business. He called me up and said that he wanted to do a shoot to show that what he builds will stand up to a beating. He built a big wooden ramp, suited up and let it rip. I love that shot because it is real. That is a street bike!
8. TSCM: What is it like to shoot in the Bonneville Flats? Are people pretty cool with you shooting everything and what are the challenges of shooting when on such a bright surface? Sandy? etc…
RG: Bonneville is truly an amazing place. There is something very spiritual about it. Speed week has been happening there since the 1930’s. It is hallowed ground for gear heads. That particular week, everyone feels like your family. Everyone is so down to earth. As far as shooting goes, It’s brilliant! The ground is a big white fill card that makes natural and beautiful reflections in the cars and a big blue sky above doing the same. It’s like being in a giant natural studio. It’s 100 degrees, it is brutal and the salt gets everywhere! But you don’t even care. You’re having too much fun. I can’t wait until next year.
TSCM: What is it in a subject matter that makes you gravitate towards getting the shot?
RG: I just make photos that I want to see. I’m selfish.
10. TSCM: You are currently teaching as an instructor at The Art Institute of Portland. What is the first thing you tell your students in intro to Studio Photography.
RG: I don’t teach that class anymore but I would tell them to live their life and the photographs will make themselves. I can’t claim that quote, I heard it somewhere. I don’t know who said it but they are right.
11. TSCM: How the hell did you get the flying Camaro shot and what was that day about? Who’s driving, who’s car, etc…
RG: My friend and director Whitey McConnaughy http://www.whiteyfilms.com/ used to make snowboard films and that particular shot I took when he was filming a skit for his movie “Destroyer. I shot that in 2000 on film. Before everyone had digital cameras. We basically put a 2×4 between the drivers seat and the gas pedal and launched it off a cliff for the shoot. After the crash landing we had a friend with a Hummer drag it up to the side of the highway with a chain. We then called AAA and told them we needed a tow. The tow truck driver was really confused and bummed. We told him “it just got away from us”… It is really amazing at how long it stayed air born and how quiet a flying Camaro is. Man what a fun day that was.
12. TSCM: Photographer living in Portland… you would think that there would be nothing but band photography on your site… I see you have done band shots in the past… quite good ones (Dandy Warhols, M Ward, logan lynn, etc…) Do you try to stay away from such work if not a commercial shoot? If so… why. If not… do you feel that photographers get pigeon holed by their subject matter?
RG: I don’t really try and stay away from anything. I like shooting and I like collaborating with cool people and having fun. I am always shooting. I think it’s smart for a photographer to have a branded look and feel to their work. I don’t think that I have ever been pigeon holed? I see what I see. That’s what’s awesome about photography. 10 different people are going to do it 10 different ways.
*Ray’s shot of the Dandy Warhols
13. TSCM: You are friends with the guys over at ‘The Selvedge Yard’ Were they some of the first online bloggers to feature your work? How do you feel about your work being spread throughout the motorcycle/hotrod online community? Help or hurt?
RG: I just love that blog. I get inspiration from it. Jon Patrick has great taste and he has been very kind to me. I randomly sent him some images and he seemed stoked and posted them. So I sent more. It feels good that so many people are seeing it. Thank you Jon.
14. TSCM: Your Throttled show in LA had Kiyo of Garage Company doing burnouts on your white wall. I just had my bike worked on by them. Were these shows the biggest ones your work has been featured in? Were the Throttled shows more dear to your heart/vision than others in the past?
RG: Kiyo is a great guy. I had just met him and those dudes took me on a ride around downtown LA with them. So we repaid him by taking him on his first ride in my friend Brent’s Corvette. A bitchin’ 1967 Corvette. He was grinning from ear to ear. And yeah these shows were huge. It’s everything I love rolled up in to one tasty art burrito.
15. TSCM: Where can people buy your prints?
RG: Funny you should ask. A lot of people have been asking that lately. I never thought that far ahead. The best way to order something is direct through me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will custom make you something.
16. TSCM: Any events coming up?
RG: I have a few commercial jobs that I am shooting right before the holidays and working on the 51 Gasser with Cody. No real “events” planned at this very second but I already titled my next show. It’s a secret. Keep your eyes peeled in 2012.
17. TSCM: How did the MillerTown advert photos come about? Did you know any of the subjects?
RG: The Millertown campaign I shot for Wieden+Kennedy. I worked with so many good guys on that project. Jim Riswold, Jeff Williams, Roger Camp, Steve Luker. It was like an all star cast. As far as the models go…every single person in that project was a personal friend of mine. I pulled every favor card that I had. That’s why it looks so good. It’s real.
18. TSCM: Worst shoot you’ve ever been on (you can leave out the clients name)
RG: Oh man, I have been on some DOOZIES in my day with some giant egomaniacs but I wouldn’t classify them as bad. Everyone was a learning experience on how to deal with people and manage sticky situations. Also you have to always remember that no matter how gnarly of a situation is at the moment, it’s going to give you a really funny story to tell to your friends later at the bar.
19. TSCM: Your top 5 things you would grab in a fire.
RG: My wife. My Son. My Daughter. 51 Chevy and my laptop.
20. TSCM: Drink of Choice…
RG: I’m easy. A nice cheap American Pilsner and a expensive shot of Tequila. Make it a double. Do you want to arm wrestle!?
Thanks to Ray Gordon for taking the time to answer our questions. To find out more about Ray and his work, you can find him at http://raygordon.com.