Around this time of year in 2006, a friend in college showed me absenter.org, a website showcasing one man’s pursuits with photography. The latest post titled “Volume” captured a beautiful effect created by rough Lake Michigan waves crashing against a Chicago pier. The man behind the site turned out to be a Chicago-based designer named Naz Hamid. Henceforth, I followed his photography, designs, mixed tapes, and general pursuits, taken by his nostalgic style and eye (and ear) for composition.
Three years later, he and his wife moved to San Francisco, and two years after that I incidentally did the same. I had never met Naz, but I emailed him point-blank when I moved to the city, seeing if he’d be up for meeting for coffee after admiring his work for so long. Coffee turned into lunch at Citizen’s Band, his favorite restaurant in San Francisco. We kept in touch, realized we had a shared love for biking, his deeply rooted and mine newly found, and casual rides together turned into a weekly routine.
I set a resolution for myself this year to photograph portraits of people with whom I spend time, so when Naz asked me to shoot some portraits of him for his upcoming feature in Offscreen Magazine, I of course said yes. Offscreen prefers photos of an individual’s professional and private life that shed light on personality, which of course meant cycling for Naz. In addition to his familiar settings of Sightglass and his neighborhood, we spent a beautiful Friday morning in March riding up and around Twin Peaks. We looped around the figure eight road, carried our bikes to the north and south summits, and I sent Naz coasting down the curve set against a backdrop of the city. Capturing portraits of a cyclist with an SLR while riding yourself isn’t straightforward, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Nearly seven years to the day of encountering absenter.org, I’m little else but grateful to have a meaningful friendship that has blossomed and matured with such serendipity.
See the full set of portraits on Flickr →