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The streets of downtown Manhattan were the scene for a recent photo-shoot as top photographer Markus Hofmann and fashion designer Kinga Horvath arrived in the ‘Big Apple’ to capture the BMW S 1000 RR in New York City.

The most powerful series production 1000cc sports bike in the world has been a tremendous success in the USA since it was launched there in February 2010. In fact, in its debut year the RR quickly surpassed the R 1200 GS to become the best selling bike in BMW’s model line-up in the States. It also won numerous awards from the U.S. media, including Robb Report’s “Best Sportbike,” Cycle World’s “Best Superbike for 2010,” and Motorcyclist’s coveted “Motorcycle of the Year” Award.

So, it was fitting that the European-built RR – which is also the current International Bike of the Year – should be photographed in America, in the ‘city that never sleeps’, by a European photographer with a passion for New York and all things American.

After three months of planning, Hofmann couldn’t believe he was finally crossing the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan, complete with a shooting licence for Park Avenue and a promise that a section of road would be closed off for the photo-shoot. Alongside him was Kinga Horvath, the Hungarian-born, Munich-based fashion designer with a strong connection to the Bavarian brand, having previously created bespoke outfits for BMW Motorrad’s World Superbike grid girls.

Armed with her new collection, the next step for Kinga and Markus was to select the right models that would fit the brief. After seeing around 150 models from 10 different agencies, finally they found a guy (Terry) and a girl (Marisa) who had the right look and charisma they were searching for.

With an RR and a K 1300 S kindly supplied by BMW Motorrad USA colleagues, it was time for action, but in the most densely populated city in America, it was hard to avoid attracting attention – and a crowd soon gathered, as Markus explains:

“The RR and the K 1300 S were attracting lots of admiring glances from passers-by, but what surprised me was how few motorcyclists there were in New York City, although I’m sure that'll change within the next few years. We had many people come and show interest in these bikes, most of whom were between 25 and 35-years-old and we had also agreed to do the shoot a bit different than usual.

“We wanted the photographs to appear mystic, dark, mysterious and elegant, with a touch of eroticism, and that’s what we feel we achieved. To us, motorcyclists aren’t just old men or young ‘daredevils’ – that’s a dated view. These days, riding a bike isn't just practical, it’s fun, stylish and fashionable, but you also need a healthy income to have a machine as good as the RR.”

The shooting took place in warm, pleasant conditions and for some of the pictures, Markus was able to use the sun for backlighting, which matched perfectly with the skyscrapers and helped frame these lifestyle shots in this urban metropolis. The outfits stand out from typical clothing and the abundance of black – from the clothing to the S 1000 RR’s own colour scheme – add to the moody feel of the pictures.

After the shoot was finished, it was time to thank the US colleagues at BMW Motorrad for the loan of the motorcycles, before taking in some sightseeing in Manhattan – a place where Markus will surely return, with camera in hand:

“The shoot was a success – a great experience and after it was over we wanted to take some nice pictures and videos of New York City, but just as tourists, so I could put away my heavy professional camera and get out my Kodak! With this kind of camera you can stick it out of a taxi window without any great fear of dropping it accidentally, and when I got home I had some beautiful pictures and HD videos to look at. What impressed me most in New York City was how laid-back the people are and of course the size of this city. Even thought it’s big and busy, you somehow instantly feel at home there. It’s an addictive place.”


Styling and Fashion: Kinga Horvath

Makeup: Shannah Pryatel

Assistenz: Petra Höglmeier (Making of Movie)

Assistenz: Britta Leuermann

BMW Motorrad: Harald Schmidt

Photograph: Markus Hofmann