Hanging Out With a Belgian Biker Club

The Photo Blog
Feb. 23 2014 11:03 AM

Hanging Out With a Belgian Biker Club

“Gastounet” after a short night of partying at the weekend meeting of the motorcycle club "the horizons" in Mons (Belgium). Lots of people coming from all over Belgium during the night, but also beers, rock bands and a few stiptease to warm up the bikers.
Gastounet after a short night of partying at the weekend meeting of the motorcycle club the Horizons in Mons, Belgium.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

While photographing a local festival in her hometown of Haccourt, Belgium, photographer Laure Geerts struck up a conversation with the president of a tight-knit biker club known as the Kurgans. After mentioning her curiosity about the club and her desire to take a few pictures of the members, she was invited to join the club for a drink.

Tattooed and with a shared love for the television program Sons of Anarchy, the Kurgans are, according to Geerts, more of a social club than one defined by a motorcycle or a bad-boy image. “The founder of the club told me one day that he spent more time sitting on a bar stool than on the saddle of his bike,” Geerts said. “All this is an excuse to be together, to have a busy social life.”

Evelyne enjoys the presence of a tattoo and piercing artist to get a new piercing and offer herself a gem at the weekend meeting of the Kurgans in Lixhe (near Liège).
Evelyne gets a new piercing at the weekend meeting of the Kurgans in Lixhe, Belgium.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

“Dédé”, the president of the Kurgans, plays with an electric bike designed and tinkered by a member of the club.
Dédé, the president of theKurgans, plays withan electric bike created by a memberof the club.

Laure Geerts/Caravan

Slow time and lots of love during the wedding of Nelly and Henri.
Slow dancing during the wedding of Nelly and Henri.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

Geerts has spent roughly two years with the Kurgans, mostly celebrating birthdays and weddings, going out for a drink, or photographing their annual weekend event where they open their doors to other bike clubs. She slowly built up the club’s trust, but it wasn’t easy. In the beginning, she dealt with some of the men who were suspicious of her, asking if she were with the police—“They want to be discreet and not have problems,” she said—and women, who were suspicious she might be after their men. “It took a lot of time for that to disappear,” Geerts said about the women’s suspicions. “I had to come again and again, give them some good pictures, explain that I was just interested in their lifestyle.”

Geerts, who is currently showing a series about Belgian prisons, said she always tries to show a human side in her work. “I want to break the stigma that society has on people at the margins of society,” she said. She begins work on a series without preconceived ideas of how to present it, and she said she never truly feels a project is finished and always “leaves the door open to go back.”

“Dédé” (the president of the Kurgans) and his girl friend Evelyne resting in the sun dried grass during the weekend meeting of the motorcycle club "les Horizons" in Mons (Belgium).
Dédé and his girlfriend, Evelyne, rest in the grass during the weekend meeting of the Horizons in Mons.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

The Kurgans ladies dancing at a birthday party on old songs from the 70’s. Here it was Claude François "Alexandrie Alexandra".
The Kurgans ladies dance at a birthday party to '70s songs.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

Nelly smoking and having a drink at the private bar of the Kurgans, a few weeks after her wedding with Henri.
Nelly smokes and drinks at the Kurgans' private bar a few weeks after her wedding to Henri.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

A bike was kindly attacked during the night at the weekend meeting of the Kurgans in Lixhe (near Liège).
A bike was the victim of a prank during the night at the weekend meeting of the Kurgans in Lixhe.

Laure Geerts/Caravane

“Baloo” at the Harley Brothers club in Luxembourg, eating up something after too much beers and before taking the road back to home. More than 130 km to ride in the middle of the night.
Baloo eats after too many beers atat the Harley Brothers club in Luxembourg before heading home.

Laure Geerts/Caravane