When photographer Akasha Rabut moved to New Orleans in 2010, she was taken by the city’s traditions ― the parades, especially. While photographing one, she noticed two women on motorcycles and decided to introduce herself. Their names were Tru and Love; immediately, Rabut was enamored.
The pair invited her to a meeting for their all-women motorcycle crew, Caramel Curves, which took place in a member’s nail salon. Rabut took the women’s portraits, and has been doing so ever since.
“I love the feminism and femininity that these women bring to the masculine world of motorcycle clubs,” Rabut told The Huffington Post, taking care not to conflate the two terms.
Her shots of the crew include images of riders enveloped in billowy, hot-pink smoke. In some portraits, their camaraderie is clear as they laugh together wearing matching checkered jackets. In others, the pride they take in their pastime is on display as they pose on their bikes, showing off their high heels.
“These women are comfortable riding their bikes in heels and love to emphasize that they can do anything a man can do, only better and in heels,” Rabut said. “I think they do a really good job at combating the stereotype that biking is a masculine hobby.”
The women of the Caramel Curves rock lipstick and dangly earrings, bauble-y bracelets and gelled hair. They’ve got tattoos and ripped up jeans, too, fusing aesthetics to send a message about blurred gender lines.
“They have just as much, if not more, passion than most men that ride,” Rabut said. “Riding bikes gives them a sense freedom and an outlet in the world. I hope that viewers, especially female viewers, feel empowered by these images.”