There has been a noticeable uptick in bicyclists throughout the country as cities encourage residents to get out of their cars and use other methods of transportation to move around the cities. Bike lanes have been added, routes promoted and laws passed for the safety of all. Unfortunately there is a lot of congestion on the road as pedestrians; bicyclists and drivers all converge on the same space resulting in injuries and death. Each year, the US sees more than 600 bicyclist fatalities, and more than 50,000 bicyclists report injuries.
In May 2010 photographer Genea Barnes discovered Ghost Bikes while she was in New York for a shot. Their symbolic power affected her so profoundly that she began The Ghost Bike Project. According to Genea, Ghost bikes started in St Louis in 2003, by one artist who wanted to make a statement. She painted a number of bicycles all white and locked them to every intersection where a cyclist was killed. Since then, ghost bikes are seen around the world.
Genea Barnes began photographing the Ghost Bikes because one can pass a memorial hundreds of times and eventually forget that it is there to commemorate a human life. Some of her photographs are of just the Ghost Bikes and some are a combination of Ghost Bikes with images of live people, shot in her studio and manipulated through Photoshop to look like ghosts. The resulting images remind us to keep each other safe and represent a spirit that is no longer with us. Over time, many Ghost Bikes have been removed. Genea hopes this project will help the memorials and their sentiment live on. She has shot Ghost Bikes in over 45 cities and is in the process of creating a book.
Currently there are two ghost bikes in San Francisco. One at 3rd and King, across for AT&T park, for Diana Sullivan, and one at 6th and Folsom, for Amelie Le Moullac, killed just a few weeks ago.
She has an exhibit titled “Ghost Bike: A Photographic Journey” at the Dogpatch Cafe & Art Gallery September 1 – October 5, 2013. A white-painted bicycle leans, locked to a post a few feet away from the spot where a car struck and killed a bicyclist. Flowers decorate the abandoned bike, a visible reminder that life is fragile. This is a Ghost Bike, one of over 500 such memorials chained to fences, streetlights, and signposts across the United States.
Exhibition Dates / Times Exhibition Dates: September 1 – October 5, 2013
Artist Reception: Wednesday, September 11th, 6:00 – 10:00pm
Café / Gallery Hours: 7:00am – 6:00pm daily
Location Dogpatch Café and Art Gallery, 2295 3rd Street, San Francisco CA 94107
The Ghost Bike exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. For further information please call John Warner at (415) 269-5566 or visit dogpatchcafe.com.
Meet the Artist
Artist Info. geneabarnes.com