If there's a photographer who carries the mantle "chopperazzi" with pride, it's Holland's Maurice Van Den Tillaard. Like so many other two-wheeled believers from his generation, Maurice found his inspiration in BMX and on the pages of many, many magazines. His lifelong passion for cars and motorcycles also helped him build a foundation for a rewarding second career behind the lens of a camera.
We say "second career" because Maurice has a day job that would probably satisfy even the most anally fixated fab freak: this Flying Dutchman is a fighter-jet mechanic for the Dutch military.
Recent bails and even bigger bills have forced Maurice to liquidate the choppers in his stable for now, but he's still neck deep in a variety of two-wheeled scenes. Like many of us, Maurice cut his teeth in BMX, then progressed to a higher level on MTB's. In his spare time, Maurice always played with cars and bikes. These passions spilled into a variety of photographic pursuits. During one of Maurice's trips to California, choppers caught his eye and the affable Nederlander dug in with cameras and wrenches blazing.
Maurice's personal motorcycles and the photographs he's created of other machines have been featured in some of the same chopper 'zines that captured his imagination in the early days. After honing his craft with bikes in dusty alleys and parking lots, Maurice jumped into the high-stakes game of action photography. Free-wheeling Dutchman photos have graced the pages of automotive and motorcycle periodicals across the world, and today, a small selection of his favorite photos grace this ChopCult "21" interview.
Name: Maurice van den Tillaard
Business name: Dutchman Photos
Home: Gemert, The Netherlands
Clipped wing, 2010
Riding buddies: Local boys Robin, Marc, and Robert when I was still on the motorcycle. When it comes to bicycles there’s a ton of people I ride with. Michael van der Lee is a ruler to spent a day with on the bicycle
First time on two wheels: When I was 3 years old I learned to ride a bicycle. Later on around age 12 I started riding my neighbour’s RM80. That thing was nuts!
First hand-built motorcycle: 1970 Triumph Bonneville chopper which I built together with my dad and my friend Robin
Earliest two-wheeled adventure: That would be riding my pink GT Pro Performer to, and at, the 1988 Fat Jam in Aarle-Rixtel, Holland. Motorcycle wise, I’d say riding the ’91 GSX-R 750 to the Dutch TT
Suzuki GP racer Alvaro Bautista, Estoril MotoGP, 2010
Most recent two-wheeled adventure: Breaking my wrist in Chamonix, France, on some wicked downhill trail on the outskirts of the Mont Blanc was a pretty crazy adventure
Current stable of bikes and projects: Sad to admit it but at the moment I don’t own any motorcycles at all. There’s a ton of bicycle stuff in my garage, though: a '70s Motobecane city bike, a 2008 Merlin titanium road bike, a ’97 Samson NJS Keirin bike, an RIH track bike that was ridden by the ’92 Olympic team, an old Andy Gilmour pursuit bike that I recently restored, a ’95 S&M Challenger, a Schwinn Blue Falcon, a Trek 8500 MTB, a very rare Brian Rourke TT bike of which only 6 or 7 were built, and my ’95 GT Zaskar which I almost finished rebuilding. My downhill bike was sold a little while ago. The photography deal is eating up most of my time lately and I can’t keep up with everything, that’s one of the reasons why I got rid of my motorcycles. Rebuilding old bicycles is cheaper, easier, and less time-consuming than building motorcycles
Chase Stopnik, Newport Beach, CA, 2011
Tool you wish you had but don't: A more creative mind
Tool you have but wish you didn't: Two: the lawnmower and the vacuum. I hate those things!
Heaven on Earth: Some people might think I sound like an ass for saying it, but it’s probably Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, because pretty much everything that's always had my deepest, lifelong interest can be found there in its best and most intense forms
Death Squad, Oceanside, CA, 2011
Proudest moment: I don’t really have any proud moments. Nothing comes to mind
Darkest secret: No dark secrets to be found here mate—I can’t keep my mouth shut
Deepest fear: Losing a close family member
Van Den Tillaard in Afghanistan
Biggest regret: I’m bummed about selling my Subaru WRX 3 years ago, but not much else
Reason for being: Trying to live it 110% at all times
Maurice's second Triumph
If I lost my right arm: Shit, I would need to get one of those fake rubber arms or a chrome hook, like a pirate. I saw an Italian guy who had one in Baldwin Park last year and he scared the hell outta me
Thanks: My girlfriend Floortje for letting me do what I do, and to my friends in Europe and Stateside. And of course, mom and dad
Duane Peters' 50th birthday gig, 2011
Jeffrey Herlings, Belgium, 2011
Maurice airing out his MTB on home turf, 2008 (Limpe Iven photo)
Riding to Bottrop, Germany (Limpe Iven photo)
Sal's Porsche 356, Whittier, CA, 2011
DH MTB racer Melissa Buhl in Austria, 2011
Mark Drews in Sunset Beach, 2011
The Flying Dutchman on French DH trails, 2009
Tommy Hahn in Corona, CA, 2011
Maurice on location with Brandon Holstein, 2011
Max Schaaf and Maurice riding the hills above Oakland, CA, 2005