The NYT Magazine
12 O’Clock Boys
It began as an independent documentary project with a friend but quickly became a viral sensation once The New York Times Magazine commissioned and published the work.
I always felt that the ‘brief’ was my own: to use a camera as an empathetic observer.
Knowing that the group would inevitably become sensationalized, I wanted my work to be an honest, human look. These pictures aim to celebrate the people behind a singular aspect of Baltimore’s culture—not the tricks or the police chases.
Riding “twelve o’clock” refers to a vertical wheelie when the bike is perpendicular to the street. Named for this signature trick they pride themselves on, the riders frequently transform the streets into a playground for their athletic prowess.
While some ride to demonstrate their skill on a bike, others use the act to solidify their claim to public space. Weaving through traffic and performing for each other, the pack rallies the community of West Baltimore for their Sunday rides. Long dismissed as a threat to public safety, The Twelve O’Clock Boys have been canonized as an important part of the fabric of the city.
Now, there are copycat riders all over the country, and the images have been remixed and memeified countless times. For more, just search #12oclockboys on your platform of choice. Or watch the film on Netflix!