Photo Essays From The Seat Of My Motorcycle

Making photographs from the seat of my motorcycle is about as good as it gets.  But then, I’ve never really considered a life-long career as a photographer a job.  I got hooked at six after my father taught me how to use the family Kodak and it’s been a great ride ever since.


I'm often asked why I shoot black and white.  Eliminating color takes the viewer into the heart of the landscape or closer to the spirit of the person.  You feel the heartbeat, so to speak.  I learned that from Ansel Adams as his assistant for three years--back in the seventies.  In the eighties, however, I took a detour from black in white and went to Art Center College of Design, Pasadena to study studio photography.  That led to a long, successful career as an advertising photographer until 9/11 happened.  Six months later my wife and I moved from Seattle to Santa Fe.


I wanted to get back to the landscape, the serenity of the desert and start shooting from the heart again.   Change is good.   I never would have thought that teaching photography would be so rewarding.  When a student sees New Mexico’s dynamic landscape from behind the lens for the first time, and I know they get it, I go home with a smile on my face.  And speaking of smiles on my face, I don’t know if I would have ever thought about riding a motorcycle and getting stories published in magazines, which, by the way, only happens if you listen to your wife.   Yes, it’s as good as is gets.




Carlan’s photographs and road stories are featured in Harley-Davidson HOG™ Magazine and New Mexico Magazine along with a new series of photo essay ibooks. He is represented globally by Redux Pictures, NY.  His photographs are in private collections nationally as well as Australia, China, France and Spain.  He currently teaches workshops for Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and National Geographic Photo Expeditions.  Carlan is a H.O.G.® member and longtime Harley-Davidson enthusiast.  Carlan and Nancy currently operate Ride New Mexico, guided motorcycle tours and photography gallery located in Cerrillos, NM.


Visit our tour headquarters




13  First Street

Cerrillos, NM 87010

 Photographs ©Carlan Tapp 2016  All rights reserved.  Usage requires written permission.


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Phone: 505.670.2560

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