I met Graham randomly by chance while stopping off at a gas station along the Big Sur highway on our way to watch the Redbull US Grandpix at Laguna Seca back in 2009. My girlfriend loves motorcycles–especially Yahama sportbikes. So when Graham rolled up to the pump, Becki didn’t hesitate to strike up a conversation about all-things-motorcycles. Being a guy, I stood nearby at the pump giving her the stink-eye, until she called me over to introduce me. Graham rides motorcycles and loves photography. So do I! Bro-mance! We hit it off and ended up crashing at the house he and his friends rented for the MotoGP race weekend up in Monterey, California.
Graham and I have since had some crazy photo-adventures together—including shooting him wheeling his R1 up in the mountains of Santa Barbara on tortuous, windy roads that drop hundreds of feet to the valley below. I lost count of the number of wheelies he pulled coming out of corners on the barely 50-yard straight-away on Gibraltar Road, but it was EPIC! Fast-forward another year: around comes Octoberfest in Santa Barbara, and it brought with it this feisty brunette that challenged Graham to a push-up contest. Being a personal trainer, I’m inclined to believe that Nicole emerged victorious from this epic showdown–but not without Graham getting her number. I’ve known Graham since before Nicole rolled up on the scene, and I could tell from the first time he told me about her that he knew she was something special. He was smitten–in the most manly-of-manly ways, but smitten, nonetheless. You see: Graham spent his earlier years sailing the seas with the Navy, and was the guy that aimed the GIGANTIC battleship guns at you–making you feel oh-so-small-and-puny. They called him “Guns” during his tour with the Navy, rightfully so. Graham’s other claim to fame is that he has in his possession the most rugged jawline that I’ve ever seen. He could easily crush walnuts like tic tacs, and puts everyone’s favorite G.I. Joe character, “Duke”, to shame with his manly jaw and butt-chin. But this is all trivial in comparison to Graham’s greatest asset: he’s a true gentleman–the type raised on a farm in the midwest where family values and chivalry are still prized virtues. I saw it the first time we crashed at his rental house during MotoGP, and he was the best host ever–even to the seemingly random strangers that my girlfriend and I were at the time. And I see it every time a lady is in his presence. He literally puts us all to shame. So, to Graham, I say: Damn You for knowing the black art of how to make a perfect bed! My girlfriend will never let me live it down now that she’s seen such greatness. You really do make me hearken back to a time when knights roamed the landed performing chivalrous deeds for plump-bossomed women in distress. Respect.
It was an honor and an absolute blast to photograph your engagement. You are as lucky to have Nicole as she is to have you. I wish you guys all the best, and I’ll see you in June!