On a muddy plot of land in the outskirts of Bath, Somerset, a community of young and like-minded dirt bike riders meet up every week to ride, chat, do jumps, get hurt and generally live out the spoils of being young.
They were chanced upon by the photographer, Morgan Gray Williams, while he was out on a long walk around the city – something that had become a daily habit during lockdown. His resulting photography essay, Dirt Riders, is a tender reflection on teenage masculinity and the cocoon of community.
“There were people there of all ages and from all walks of life,” explains Williams, “but as the project progressed, the group’s younger members became my main focus. They seemed representative of youth culture as a whole: toxic masculinity, ego, love, identity, passion, adolescence, and, ultimately, friendship.”
As he spent more and more time amongst the riders, he got to know more about their interpersonal relationships and life experiences. “I resonated with their attachment to the community and each other because I was part of a similar community when I was their age,” he says. “With all the pressures, pains and perplexities of school, family and growing up, I sought a connection to something bigger than myself. I feel as though this project depicts those nuances of navigating youth and constructing an identity within a like-minded community that allows you to feel safe, acknowledged and understood."