Malin Kullberg, Sweden
Malin from Stockholm fell in love with all things motorcycle related early in life. Her first bike she got at sixteen, a Honda NSR 125. Today she rides a Triumph Street Triple R, but dreams of cruising the streets on a well-kept Café Racer.
In her teens she also learned photography and has since taken thousands of images. Since 2010 Malin Kullberg works as a professional photographer. The secret behind a great shot according to Malin, is the genuine connection with the person or item that your capturing- that breaths reality.
Documentary photo has always been an interest for Malin, who always aims to get under the skin of the people she photographs.
In her photo exhibition MOTO FEMME she has portrayed 12 female motorcycle riders across Sweden, in both image and text. The purpose of the exhibition is to change the way we see women, not only within the moto scene, but throughout society. We still see objectified women in semi-nude or pornographic images posing with various bikes, and the fact that this is so socially accepted, has feed Malins urge to give light to the reality of real women in motorcycling. The modern, beautiful, brave and interesting women from real life are the women Malin thinks should be represented in bike images instead of the stereotypical, unattainable bodies we see today. MOTO FEMME also aspires to inspire more females to want to start riding and racing to experience the wonderful two-wheeled lifestyle.
"I hope these images and stories will surprise, empower, put a smile on your face and suddenly start longing for clean asphalt and open roads"
When and why did you get in to photography?
“I started photographing at twelve years old when I got my first analog Pentax camera. I loved shooting detailed images, I could sit in a field for ten minutes trying the get the setting just right to photograph a dandelion.
I can relate to photographers older than me when they talk about the good old days! Today when everything is digitalized, it's all so simple. You can shoot a hundred photos a minute, and if the image still is not exactly what you had imagined, almost anything is possible to alter in Photoshop.
As I grew older I started getting interested in people. I loved secretly shooting images of people in the city, and still enjoy catching a moment in a really great snapshot- because it's real and authentic.”
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“My best memory with my bike, was riding Gotland Ring for the first time- there's no better feeling than getting the full flow around the track. It's all about tact and timing; when you've learned to waltz, you will slowly but surely increase the pace. Enormous focus is needed, but it gives you the most amazing endorphin rush when you set a new record.”
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“I'm inspired by all the women who has broken new ground, being the first to claim space in a group of men, for example Susie Wolff. We need more female role models to connect with, not objectified bodies.”
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“It's crucial for women of all ages to have other females to look up to. The whole idea of my photo campaign MOTO FEMME is to portrait relatable, ordinary, beautiful women of all ages, to inspire and empower other women. The women already in the industry needs to get more space and credit, needs to be showcased more.”
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“I hope that women become more supportive and unite in the fight for equality, so that we can reach our goals.
I also hope that people will start realizing the massive impact and responsibility media has, and stop accepting the current climate. More women need to have their voices heard, and we need to stop objectifying women, stop the sexualization, and instead focus on people's personalities and abilities.”
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“I think the biggest prejudice people have is that I'm in to fashion, yoga and don't like to work hard and get my nails dirty.”
Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
“Media has enormous power over how us women perceive ourselves. It's so shameful and awful how focus is shifted from personal worth, accomplishments and personal traits to just aiming to looking and feeling attractive for other people. It seems we are never allowed to think that we are good enough, and we are constantly fed with the idea that something about us needs improving.”
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“Looking at women in moto as an example, we are flooded with images of naked women posing with rad bikes. The untrue cliché is that "It's always been like this, and will always be like this".
In commercial ads, in magazines, there are often pictures of women and men in the same frames;
and while he men are fully clothed, confidently sitting on the bikes, or standing masculinity with their arms crossed in cool gear and Kevlar jeans, women are often seen squatting or lying on the floor, beneath the men, or standing in sexy poses behind the men. Of course without suitable clothing, if clothed at all.”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Even if you haven’t seen us yet, we are a growing community of cool, prestigeless, strong – and first and foremost- completely normal and diverse women out there, who just love doing what we are doing. And we’re waiting for you.”
Jennifer Calmunger, Sweden
Jennifer describes herself as a happy 28 year old mother of two, who loves to ride motorcycles, socialize with family and friends, working out and occasionally enjoy a few glasses of red wine. Next on her bucketlist is a roadtrip (on motorcycle of course) through the highlands of Scotland. Jennifer currently rides a Honda VFR 800.
Soon after she decided to get her license, she found out that she was actually pregnant. So she simply bought protective gear sized XXL to have something to grow in, and decided to keep riding through her pregnancy, doing her final exam at nine months! You just have to be extra careful, not taking any risks what so ever, and keep focus on traffic she says.
"I’ve always dreamed about riding motorcycles and owning one of my own. Making that dream come true is one of the best things I’ve ever done!"