Ghost bikes, as most cyclists know, are white-painted bicycles, placed in memory of cyclists who have been killed in road accidents.
Some of us have participated in memorial rides for fallen cyclists or seen ghost bikes erected in their memory. Many of the ghost bikes are adorned with flowers and messages scrawled on bits of paper.
San Francisco-based photographer Genea Barnes says she discovered ghost bikes while shooting in New York in 2010, “and their symbolic power affected me powerfully.”
She set out to photograph bicycle memorials around America as part of what she calls The Ghost Bike Project.
“I started The Ghost Bike Project because we can pass a memorial hundreds of times and eventually forget that it is there to commemorate a human life,” Barnes wrote on a webpage that launched a KickStarter fund drive to finance a road trip last fall to photograph the ghost bikes.
“I combine photos of Ghost Bikes with images of live people, shot in my 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.”
A selection of 87 photos from that trip are on display through Oct. 5 at The Dog Patch Cafe and Art Gallery at 2295 Third Street at 20th Street in San Francisco.
Barnes wrote in an email that this will be her last major show before moving to Brooklyn at the end of November.
The next phase of The Ghost Bike Project is a book of the best images.