Couriers twenty years ago

Nick Smith’s photographic portraits of motorbike and pushbike couriers were taken as part of his study about the make-up of individuals working in the courier industry in late 90’s.

Back then most of the people were unknown to Nick. The shots were taken for a college project and subsequently exhibited in 1997 under the title “9 Lives.”

London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger , late 90's.London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger , late 90's.London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger, late 90's.

This time the project’s come back has a different spin to it. Not only Nick is trying to establish the names of those he captured on his analogue camera almost 20 years ago, but most importantly to celebrate the vibrant industry that couriering once was: “Last of the rock ‘n’ roll jobs.” 

London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger , late 90's.

London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger , late 90's.

London's pushbike courier or bicycle messenger , late 90's.

The result of this revision will be an exhibition of all the portraits and most likely a gathering of ex couriers and also those who are still on the road, who just started or has any interest in the underground lifestyle of messengers, gofers and peddlers.

The “9 lives renaissance” exhibition is currently TBA 2017/2018 so keep your eyes peeled.

London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90's London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90's 

Here is a blurb from Nick Smith:

“In the 90’s, the centre of the West End couriers’ universe was the junction of Great Marlborough and Carnaby streets.

On a slow August day there could have been up to 30 to 40 assorted couriers standing by or “giving it 5, 10, 20”. Or perhaps even having a quick dash to the Duke of York!
As you know, some lifetime friendships came of it too.
Enjoy the pics – C/W near vintage cro-moly & gears!
Most of my years on the road were on motorbikes, but loved the true liberty of my pushie years.
London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90's

Nick’s own brown Trek 970 was a perfect example of cro-moly steel mountain bike conversion. Unfortunately stolen February 2017.

Back then most riders’ choice of a bike would have been a cro-moly  (steel alloy of chromium and molybdenum)
mountain bike. Majority were top end models, that would then be pared down, handlebars cut to the
narrowest they could go. Low ratio front cogs stripped off but gears and ratchet kept. My old brown Trek 970 in the picture, was a perfect example. Short, fast and able to change direction alarmingly quickly… the downside being that
at speed, it was, er, rather unstable! Was those 26″ wheels probably. Unfortunately, stolen after 21 years
of ownership, in February this year!
Other photo works and projects at annandasa.com
To all here, those who have joined in, those still on the road – and to those no longer with us, my thanks and regards to you all.
Nick Smith”
London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90's

Nick Smith sipping his coffee whilst on stand by. Photo: Monique Kelly.

London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90’s

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London motorbike pushbike couriers late 90’sLondon motorbike pushbike couriers late 90’sLondon motorbike pushbike couriers late 90’s

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