Baltimore, MD, USA
This group of renegade dirt bike riders, named for the signature trick they pride themselves on, frequently transform the streets of Baltimore into a playground for their dramatic and dangerous athleticism. Riding “twelve o’clock” refers to a vertical wheelie, when the bike is perpendicular to the street.
Every Sunday, they play a cat and mouse game with the Baltimore police, weaving through traffic, and performing for each other, the ‘pack’ rally the community for their rides. While some are motivated to do so purely to demonstrate their skill on a bike, others have a more political motivation, aiming to solidify their claim to public space.
Although many in Baltimore see the practice as wreaking havoc to public safety, The Twelve O’Clock Boys have been canonized as an important part of the fabric of the city.
The alluring pull to be included in this wheelie elite is felt most acutely by youth like ‘Pug,’ a 14 year old boy who dreams of one day riding with the pack.
These pictures aim simply to celebrate a singular aspect of Baltimore’s unique culture.
I shot while working on a documentary film with Lotfy Nathan, which premiered at SXSW. For better or worse, the group has since become an internet sensation, there are copycat riders all over country, and the images have been remixed and memeified countless times. For more, just search #12oclockboys on your platform of choice. Or watch the film on Netflix!