Behind the Lens

Moto Photography

Sara Liberte

Sara snaps a small group of bikers as they escape the crowds of Sturgis and take over the small town of Hoover, SD.

Pat Patterson of Led Sled Customs enjoying the Daytona coastline.

A group of young riders on their hand-built machines exploring the lush canopy over growth on a Daytona back road.

Sara captured the essence of Dave Perewitz with his signature flames in this image from her "Builder and Machine" Image Fusion Series.

One of Sara's favorite people to shoot, the late Sam Morgan.

Sara will put her life in the hands of very few people when shooting pics from the back of a moving motorcycle. Rob Kellher is one of the select few.

Bubba Blackwell amidst a plume of burnout smoke.

One of Sara's pieces from her "Woman and Machine" series.

One of the many custom bikes built by Sara's boyfriend and RT's North Hills Cycle Inc., business partner, Ron Tonetti.

"Builder and Machine," the late Johnny Chop.

Britannica Online defines art as the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others. Within this definition there are many manners in which motorcycles can be a form of expressive art, from welding, building, and painting, to photographing and even riding, as the late Samantha Morgan exhibited so well. Since this is our pictorial issue, we decided to run a few pages showcasing some artistic motorcycle photography from one of the top freelance photographers in the industry, Sara Liberte.

Sara has been photographing bikes since the early '90s, but her adoration for motorcycles doesn't just lie behind the lens. She also services and builds bikes with her boyfriend and business partner Ron Tonetti; together they run RT's North Hills Cycles Inc, in Pittsburgh, PA. A gearhead and artist from early on, Sara drove, rode, and maintained the hell out of her '66 Mustang, '77 Iron Head Cafe Racer, and '96 XL while expressing her artistic side through drawing and painting. After following a professor's recommendation and enrolling in a photography class, Sara found yet another medium in which to express herself.

It doesn't matter if it's riding, building, or servicing motorcycles, or even attending events and rallies; as long as she has a camera close at hand to capture the bond between man and machine, Sara is happy. Living her life day to day, Sara is one of the lucky ones who has made a career out of her two passions, motorcycles and photography. This path has also led her to establish close and long-lasting bonds with many people within the industry, such as Mark L'heurex, Kim Peterson, Chris Callen, Brian Klock, Jay Allen, and of course Ron.

Continually pushing herself and exploring other avenues for her art, in '05 Sara took her Fine Art Series from college and displayed it at some events. Her limited-edition photo series "Woman and Machine" was a great success that gained a lot of attention. She emerged even further into the media spotlight when she began releasing more of her fusion-style photography with the series "Builder and Machine." The Builder and Machine series featured well-known motorcycle craftsmen such as Dave Perewitz and the late Johnny Chop.

Sara's work can be found in many places. She authored a book called How To Repair and Maintain American V-Twin Motorcycles and had the opportunity to display her art in the AMA Museum for an exhibit called MotoStars, Celebrities and Motorcycles. One of her most recent accomplishments, however, is the launch of www.garage-girls.com, a website geared towards getting more females interested in motorcycling and the "garage" lifestyle.

In closing, the best way to really get an understanding of who Sara is and why she does what she does is through her own words: "I never set out with a goal to be where I am; I just do what I love and keep pushing forward. I'm very grateful for everyday that I get to be submerged with motorcycles and photography; I need one just as much as the other." To see more of her work, check out www.saraliberte.com.