Soichiro Honda loved racing, so it comes as no surprise that Honda became synonymous with exotic and small-batch manufactured machines dedicated to the sole pursuit of winning. Sometimes that technology made it’s way to machines on dealer floors, sometimes not.
All of the photographs bear the style that has now become the staple of the advertising industry. The non-descript surroundings of an environment no longer relevant, the focus is strictly on the machine and its racer.
What makes these photos different from today’s advertising is the lack of standardized formula that modern action photography has honed over the last three decades. At the time it was a novel approach to capturing that moment of utter concentration and the peak of performance by man and machine.
This series as a whole displays the multi-faceted nature of the Honda brand. Clearly speed is the weakest of the bunch and these images show sport riding as pure and thrilling but ultimately lacking the vitality of a rider going about in their daily lives.
Sadly, this is very much a reflection of the current industry as a whole. Motorcycling, while growing in sales, has been marginalized as a dangerous hobby to be shunned. Much of our imagery, focusing on power speed and danger, all darker qualities, reflects and reinforces these fears.
Honda’s biggest explosion in sales as a motorcycle company came with Grey’s Nicest campaign, showcasing Honda riders including their machines as a part of their everyday, complex lives. That might not be a theme to look into again.