Lanakila MacNaughton is an authentic badass. A free-spirit and creative visionary, her photography is both risky in its process and compelling in its results; she captures motorcycle culture and ambiance, mostly from the back of a bike herself. Lanakila’s subjects are women – powerful women – whom you can tell just from their gaze are independent by nature and fearless by design. Her love for photography and motorcycles prompted her to found the Women’s Motorcycle Exhibition, which broadly aims to redefine social norms and gender roles in contemporary bike culture. We knew we had to get inside this babe’s head and discover her inspiration, as well as discuss her upcoming exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum. Read our rad Q&A with Lanakilia and browse through her amazing photos below.
Don’t miss her upcoming exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum, Dec 21 – March 16. Opening reception (read: babes, bikes and beer) is this Sunday, December 22 from 6pm -9pm.
CULT: Tell us about yourself!
Lanakila: My name is Lanakila MacNaughton. I am a 25 year old photographer based out of Portland Oregon. A year and a half ago I bought my first bike, and my life changed.
CULT: Do you remember your first bike?
Lanakila: My first bike was a red honda 250, it squeaked when it turned on and was constantly leaking, I loved that little bastard.
CULT: What draws you to motorcycle culture?
Lanakila: I am obsessed with motorcycles, from the thrill of the open road and being able to leave on a whim, the aesthetics and customization to the sound and grumble, I’m hooked.
CULT: How did you decide that you wanted to blend your photography talents with motorcycle culture?
Lanakila: After riding for a little while I was bummed to find that the motorcycle culture and popular culture as a whole did not accurately represent the modern day female motorcyclist. We are seen as ornaments for motorcycle culture rather than power figures charging down the road on a bike. It was a pity to see these women overlooked and under-represented.
CULT: Where are some of your favorite places that you’ve travelled to?
Lanakila: Baltimore, Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Seattle, LA.
CULT: How do you connect with the riders who are the subjects in your photographs?
Lanakila: At first it was me just reaching out to strangers, they had no idea who I was and probably thought I was really weird. But once I started posting the images people started getting in contact with me and setting up shoots. I love Instagram, I post that I am arriving in a city and immediately get a great response and women to photograph.
CULT: Is it difficult to get the perfect shot while simultaneously?
Lanakila: Riding on the back of a bike while photographing another bike is definitely not easy, but I have found a kind of rhythm to it. There are a lot of things to factor, traffic, safety, weather, gas, communicating with your hands because its loud as hell. I find remaining calm no matter what happens is best, and accepting that at any moment I could crash and die.
CULT: How do you hope your photos will affect the way female motorcyclists are represented?
Lanakila: I hope the photos will empower and enrich the community of women riders, to change false perceptions and to inspire a carefree, live fast lifestyle.
CULT: Your ideal day consists of…
Lanakila: Pomeranian’s, choppers and leather
CULT: Words to live by:
Lanakila: Shut up and ride.