A unique two-wheeled angle on Cape Town’s iconic cityscapes
© Wayne Reiche / Red Bull Content Pool
'Shapes in the City' sees freestyle BMX rider Murray Loubser daydream his way out of a dreary lecture and into some highly technical moves at some of the most iconic locations around the Mother City.
South African BMX and dirt-jump building pioneer, Wayne Reiche, had a crucial hand in the idea and visual treatment. Indeed, it is his philosophy on photography in which the project is grounded: “My take on photography tends to look for strong lines and shapes,” says the Cape Town-based lensman. “I thought of taking the concept a bit further by adding a geometric shape element to the shots, essentially putting Murray into these shapes while riding BMX.”
Shapes in the City has been a labour of love for Reiche, Loubser and the rest of the film crew, having started the process early in 2020. As South Africa’s lockdown regulations eased and filming was allowed under strict protocol, the team was finally able to hit the streets to start production.
We caught up with Reiche ahead of the film’s release on Thursday 22 October. Here’s what he had to say:
ON HOW IT ALL STARTED
Murray and I shot together back in 2016 just after he had joined the Red Bull family and there was this one shot at the yellow rectangle at the Cape Town train station that sort of sparked the idea.
Then, the more time I spent shooting BMX, not necessarily just with Murray (although we shoot together a lot) the more it sort of took shape. The shadows and geometry and light changes really intrigued me in some spots and I do tend to shoot two-dimensional, calculated shots when shooting wide, rather than weird angles. This project is the culmination all of that put together.
ON THE TALENT
Yeah, look he's pretty talented young man, which made our jobs as content producers so easy. Especially with the technical tricks, he seems to have done them so many times it's just muscle memory. This really helped with planning the timelines of how long we needed to dedicate to each spot. We knew Murray would nail things pretty quickly so that we could move on.
ON HOW IT TURNED OUT
I’m so stoked on the final product. Well, products! The initial idea was a stills project only, but then it morphed into a video project which changed everything. It grew into something much bigger and we ended up with an action edit and a behind-the-scenes documentary on top of the stills gallery. It’s all still very organic and genuine, which is what Murray and I were after.
ON SOME OF THE SHOTS
There were some of the images that turned out just about exactly how I had pictured them in my mind and that was really satisfying. There is one particular shot at the Taal Monument (Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl). It's a black-and-white shot of Murray doing a flair, with a leading line in. The one thing I didn’t count on, but which worked completely in my favour was the shadows cast by the pillars leaving just a single bar of light, and he was in the bar of light. I’m in love with that shot.
The other photo I was really stoked on was at the Zeitz MOCAA and he is doing a switch tail-whip, which is pretty technical off that sculpture. It is essentially a very flat image but it has loads of lines and weird shape at the bottom of the picture.
ON THE HEAVY (BUT SPECIAL) MOMENTS
There were fortunately not too many heavy wipeouts. Well, with someone like Murray it kind of depends on what you deem a ‘big spill’ - he will stick to perfecting a trick until either he or the bike is broken. The kid’s pretty tough man, almost as tough as he is talented, and that is A LOT.
With him there are only three options (on a trick): he rolls away, or he breaks himself, or the bike breaks. He won’t ever give up.
The curved wall-ride to tailwhip in Monwabisi was really cool. Perhaps one of the 'biggest' moments...I was there when he fell on it the first time and I rode that place about 16 years ago for the first time, so to go back and nail it was pretty epic.
I also got to roll it in between takes - a little sneaky run to get the heart pumping! It’s kind of one those spots you can’t really feel out you have to commit. Even more so when you do a tail whip out.
To check out that wall-ride and the full story behind it, along with all the other spots, look out for the SHAPES IN THE CITY action edit and SHAPES, the behind-the-scenes documentary on Red Bull TV on Thursday 22 October. The documentary will also air on SABC 1 on Saturday, 24 October at 13:30."