In 1977, after a stint simultaneously playing drums in a BeBop jazz band, bussing tables in a restaurant and doing personal photography, Michael Lichter decided he was a better photographer than drummer and hung up the sticks. He had already been riding his 1971 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead (which he still owns) for a year and had started photographing bikers. Michael exhibited this work in art exhibitions over the next few years where it was purchased for both public and private collections, but by 1979, Easyriders Magazine started to publish his work and he began shooting assignments directly for them. By 1981, he returned to Sturgis for the 3rd time, now for Easyriders for whom he has returned there ever since.
As Michael’s association with Easyriders developed and after a 1981 solo exhibition at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin, Ireland that was boycotted by the League of Decency, Michael became disillusioned with the “art world” and focused entirely on shooting for publication and developing his commercial advertising and corporate photography career. The following year, he opened a studio in Boulder, Colorado that he works out of to this day.
Michael is now credited with 11 large format books on motorcycling, as well as more than 1200-magazine articles, numerous calendars, advertisements, posters and many other forms of printed materials on the subject. In the last few years, his shooting has focused almost exclusively on motorcycling in one form or another and his assignments can take him anywhere in the US, or around the globe. Since 2000, Michael returned to the art world when he started to again exhibit his limited edition photographs in galleries and museums, both in the US and abroad – work which has also been profiled in motorcycle and photography magazines, several television documentaries and by Nikon cameras. The annual Motorcycles as Art display that Michael curates at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Lichter Exhibition Hall, now in its 16th-year, has become the most celebrated exhibition of its kind, providing Sturgis rally-goers with a memorable and irreplaceable experience.