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JC & the Tinker.

People all around the world are making our bikes an essential part of their life. In this series, we let them tell their story.

JC Cancedda. Photo: © JC Dhien

Hi, my name is Jean-Claude, JC for short. I am a photographer and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I am originally from France, but I moved to New York in 1986.

I have a photo studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a big industrial complex and shipyard that houses artists and innovative companies. I do a lot of portrait work. Good portraits take time, usually a few hours. You need to have a connection with the person.

Besides portrait work, I love doing street photography. At least twice a week, I go out with my camera and my bike, a Tinker, and just explore the surroundings. The area around my studio still has dry docks and boats, it has lots of buildings from the 1940s. These complexes feature cool textures and facades, great for photography.

When I go out, I usually give myself an assignment. If you don’t know what you are going to shoot, you end up shooting nothing. The last assignment was finding organic structures, textures and architectural elements that look like the letters in the alphabet. Working on an assignment opens up new avenues. You start to see different things all of a sudden.

Cruising around on the Tinker is awesome, it’s very comfortable. Because it’s an E-Bike, I don’t get tired, I can ride for 4-5 hours. I can go to places where most people don’t have access to because there is no public transportation nearby, like subway stations. 

The right place at the right time.

The Tinker in Brooklyn. Photo: © JC Cancedda.

The Tinker used to be a fairly unusual bike for New York. People would stop and say: “That’s a cool bike, man!” But now with so many E-Bikes around in the city it is not as rare as it used to be. I chose the Tinker over a regular bike due to its size. I don’t have so much space in my home and the bike fits perfectly under the stairs in my apartment. Due to the adjustable stem, I can even put it in my car. That’s a big plus.

A few weeks ago, I took the Tinker to Hudson, a beautiful small town in upstate New York. I spent a week exploring the city by bike. It is very hilly there, the perfect terrain for the Tinker. Without the bike I would not have been able to do that – I’m not a cycling enthusiast. And exploring a town by car is just not the same. It lets me stop nearly anywhere and I can stay on the bike while taking pictures. I stop, I take a shot, and go on.

The cameras I work with are by Leica. A German brand, just like my bike. I use a Q2 Reporter and a Q2 Monochrome, which shoots black and white only. I haven’t found anything that gets close. Nothing compares to Leica; it just feels great in your hands.

Do I like black and white better than colour photos? Tough question. Black and white feels more timeless, it forces you into different pictures. It is more about light and contrast. You don’t rely on the colour to create the emotion. And the monochrome sensor takes you back to the days of photo lab work. I like that.

My favourite photo is one I took in Williamsburg during Covid. It is black and white and features graffiti on a wall reading “Can we still fall in love this summer?” while a young couple passes by hand in hand. A moment in time. The right place at the right time.

JC Cancedda on Instagram

Street photography in New York City

Super compact for the city: The Tinker2.