Kim Lowe Catches Up with Cycle Kids

Jacqui Palumbo

Boston-based photographer Kim Lowe primarily specializes in kids photography, but was approached by Elaine Roake, photo editor of Fitness magazine, to photograph the director of the Healthworks Foundation. Roake connected with Lowe through PhotoServe and was drawn to her style and energy. A month later, Roake called again to ask her to photograph for Cycle Kids, a nonprofit organization in Boston that gives elementary schools and community centers an “innovative bicycling-based curriculum” that promotes health and social activity without competition.

Cycle Kids was founded seven years ago when Harvard University cycling coach Julianne Idlet was discussing the rise in childhood obesity with a friend while on a bike ride. The idea was simple – more kids needed to ride bikes more often. Since Cycle Kid’s inception, Idlet and her team have taught fourth and fifth graders across the Boston area how to ride bicycles, exercise effectively, and make smarter food choices. The six week program targets schools in at-risk communities and has grown from 100 students to over 1,000. The response has changed the program’s aim and Idlet plans to expand nationally.

Roake and Associate Photo Editor Karina Dearword asked Lowe to photograph Julianne Idlet, founder of Cycle Kids, along with some of her students from the program. The amount of time for the shoot was limited to thirty minutes since the kids could only participate during a class period. The day of the shoot, Lowe arrived early to the location in Cambridge to find the area completely surrounded by construction, signs and fences. She and her assistant worked fast to find a new location that was easily reachable by bicycle and offered enough options for a variety of images.

The shoot itself was a workout, but was not without humor, as Lowe and her subjects found themselves wanting to switch places. Lowe had to follow the twenty kids on foot as they rode around the area. Another idea sent her climbing up a tree to shoot from above while the kids and Julianne intertwined with their bicycles beneath her. “They wanted to be up in the tree with me, and all I wanted was a bicycle to keep up with them!” she says. In the end, Lowe says, she was lucky that the kids were so upbeat. “The location wasn’t great, the sun was strong and annoying, but the kids were incredible! They were all psyched to be there – a true testament to the Cycle Kids program.”To see more of Kim Lowe’s work, visit her Web site.



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