Michael Grecco | Social Media
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Maybe it was my Godmother Jean singing the Joanne Campbell 1961 pop hit “Motorcycle Michael” to me as a baby (though never the whole song because of its “racy” lyrics!) that got me interested in motorcycles. Or maybe it was the fact that my ex told me I could never ride a motorcycle, and now we’re divorced. Or maybe it was that first ride through Paris on a 150 cc Vespa with my then 14-year-old daughter Sophia. Whatever it was, I now love to ride and have a need for speed!

As both a professional advertising photographer and a celebrity photographer, I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Many commercial photographers are. The idea of performing and creating on the spot during an advertising or celebrity photo shoot gets us excited. We love that kind of challenge. Biking offers a similar thrill. So, after 10 years of riding the street on several different café racer motorcycles I decided to enroll in the Keith Code California SuperBike School in Los Angeles.

By my 8th day on a track, I was driving over 110 miles per hour on the straightaways and handling the curves of the Streets of Willow Springs on a BMW RRs1000 Superbike. I was doing things I could not have imagined before, like hanging off the bike and leaning at some crazy angel to make a curve at high speed.

Being a professional advertising photographer, a celebrity photographer, or any other kind of commercial photographer constantly challenges you to grow. This has been true throughout my career, and especially true in the last 10 years or so. You must adapt to changes in the market and changes in technology; you must be a good listener and be able to figure out how to execute a task; you must take care of production scheduling so that everything goes smoothly and you don’t waste a celebrity’s time; and you must be able to manage the production budget and your own business finances to survive.

Learning to race presents a lot of parallel challenges. You have to listen, and then you have to execute a move, and trust it will not end in catastrophe. You must believe that warm race tires will hold you up at a 45 or 50 degree angle to the ground and you will not fall; you must learn to look where you want to go, as the bike goes where you look; you need to find the entry point, apex and exit point of each turn, even at 115 miles per hour. All in all, you have to believe that the force is with you, and that if you practice, listen and have good judgement, it will all come together.

Thankfully, each time I ride, like each time I shoot, I get better and better.