Daniel Peirce

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Daniel Peirce
Born(1959-05-21)May 21, 1959
Washington, D.C.,
United States
Known forPhotography

Daniel William Peirce (born May 21, 1959) is an American photographer, author, entrepreneur and philosopher, best known for his fine art photography representing the style and design of the motorcycle engine.

Peirce completed a decade-long portfolio of photographs titled The Up-N-Smoke Engine Project, resulting in a photography book The Fine Art of the Motorcycle Engine,[1] studying the light, shadows and graphic nature of motorcycle engines.

Known in the industry as "Lord of Light, Master of the Pixel",[2] Peirce's style emphasizes utilizing the natural occurrences of shape, shadow, and highlights found in manufactured materials and highlighted by his studio photography techniques.

Personal life[edit]

Peirce was born May 21, 1959, in Washington D.C, the third of four children of Margaret Daniels. His father Frank Peirce Sr, a career soldier in the United States Air Force, eventually led to the family’s relocation to Universal City, Texas when Peirce was four years old. Peirce began his study of photography at Samuel Clemens High School, and continued in that profession after graduation, despite the recommendation of the high school counselor that he consider plumbing. He decided to pursue photography after graduating from high school and completed the School of Modern Photography correspondence course in 1979.

While developing his personal photography skills and style, he met a University of Texas graduate, Pamela Anne Mitchell. The two were married December 6, 1980 in a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas. They have two daughters, Elizabeth (1983) and Catherine (1988).

In 1985, the family moved from Universal City to Dallas-Fort Worth. In 1992, they moved again to the Hawaiian island, Oahu where they lived for three years before returning to DFW.

Having ridden motorcycles in his teens, Peirce picked up his hobby of motorbikes again at 38 years old. He rebuilt a free 1972 Honda CL350 basket-case and started riding again. A few years later, he would buy a 1978 Honda CB750 that would become his daily rider, the Landshark.

Daniel Peirce is a current member of the Peckerhead Motorcycle Racing club, a local motorcycle riding organization founded in Keller, Texas.

Peirce now lives with his wife of 30 years in Grapevine, Texas. He continues his passion of rebuilding vintage motorbikes and is currently working on a 1968 Harley Davidson Sprint.


Since 1979, Daniel Peirce has worked in nearly every field of professional photography, including police forensic photography, wedding and portrait photography, photo lab management, and professional photography instruction. During the last 16 years, the majority of his work as an artist has been in commercial photography, concentrating on the motorcycle equipment and apparel industry. Peirce's current and longest-held position is as the head photographer for Tucker Rocky and Biker's Choice Distributing, producing images for their motorcycle parts, accessories and apparel catalogs, which are the largest of their kind in the nation.

Past career highlights include: 1991 Louis Daguerre trophy from the Professional Photographers of America, 1995 President of the Corporate Imaging Association, 2009 chosen as official photographer for the Old Indians Never Die International Indian Motorcycle Rally[3] in Traquair, Scotland.

Trick Photography[edit]

In the year 2000, Peirce founded Trick Photography, a personal business in which he produces images and articles for motorcycle publications and individual clients. His work has appeared in every major motorcycle magazine in the nation including: Cycle World, Motorcycle Classics and the Robb Report. The original Trick Photography business model centered on providing professional portrait services that allowed vintage vehicle owners to pose alongside their machines. This artistic endeavor led Peirce to develop an increased appreciation for the aesthetic of the motorcycle itself, and its potential as the subject for fine art photography.

Up-N-Smoke project[edit]

The UNS Engine Project began when Peirce attended the North Texas Norton Owners Association’s annual motorcycle rally at the Lake O' The Pines, near Jefferson, Texas. Peirce was assigned to shoot photos to use in an article for Ride Texas Magazine. The highlight of the rally is always the impressive vintage bike show. Showing primarily European motorcycles, the show boasts many bikes seen nowhere else. From that session, a double-framed collection of ten solid pictures showing motorcycle marks from Ariel, to Honda, to Triumph, to Zundapp were created, titled "Motorbikes from A to Z, Lake O' The Pines 2001."

The UNS Engine Project was named after a restaurant in Keller, Texas. Peirce, a member of the Peckerhead Motorcycle Racing Club, met other Peckerheads at their Friday night gatherings at the Up-N-Smoke BBQ House and Power sports Bar in Keller, Texas. Phil Dansby, the owner and fellow Peckerhead, encouraged Peirce to begin the engine project and thus the very first poster produced hangs in the restaurant.

It was then that Peirce began the pursuit of photographing the motorcycle engine. The UNS Engine Project led to the publishing of the completed series titled, The Fine Art of the Motorcycle Engine. The book is published from Veloce Publishing, UK. US distribution through Motorbooks International.

Additionally, prints from his UNS Engine Project series are popular and are sold to collectors all over the world. His artwork is represented through several internet art dealers and is also available through the online store of Motorcycle Classics magazine and his web site, trickphotog.com.

Museum Recognition[edit]

In 2011, works by Peirce were selected for exhibition at Thunder at CAM: An exhibition of motorcycles and motorcycle art at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. Peirce's work Hayabusa Headers received a winner's recognition from panel judges.[4]

The images selected for the CAM exhibit are part of Peirce's newest project, The Mechanistic Abstract Series. Mechanistic Abstract is a series of abstract art photography of mechanical subjects rendered in a biomechanical style. The photographs in the series highlight the biomechanical forms found in designed machines.


Publishing under the alias "Uncle Cosmo," Peirce developed the philosophy of Apathyology, which he summarized as the "act of selective caring".[5] The apathyologist definition of "caring" is similar to that of the Buddhist principle of Taṇhā, or craving to the point of mental or spiritual damage.

Emphasizing laissez-faire attitudes with an individual's right to determine self value, worth and priority, Apathyology differs from nihilism in that it does not prescribe the absence of passion or caring, just that it be applied deliberately and consciously. The principal tenets of the philosophy are summarized in the "Ten Wisdoms of Apathyology".[6]

  1. Do not care about wanting to cause harm to anyone.
  2. Do not care about your personal past. It will stunt your future.
  3. Do not care about revenge. It is a self-inflicted wound.
  4. Everyone on Earth believes, thinks, feels and looks differently from you. Do not care about anyone's differences.
  5. Do not care if there is a purpose to your life on Earth. If there is, it will be fulfilled whether you care or not.
  6. You can care about anyone and anything you want - just not too much.
  7. You begin to care to much when you begin caring about any of the first Five Wisdoms.
  8. In any human relationship, he who cares the least has the most power.
  9. Contentment comes from strength. That strength comes from not caring too much about anything.
  10. "Letting go" is difficult and satisfying.


  1. ^ Peirce, Daniel. The Fine Art of the Motorcycle Engine, Veloce Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-1-84584-174-4
  2. ^ http://www.motorcyclistcafe.com/forums/showthread.php?8797-MOTORCYCLE-CLASSICS-Then-Came-Bronson-Bike
  3. ^ http://www.dukevideo.com/Bikes/DVD/Marques/Marques-f-to-j/Old-Indians-Never-Die-DVD.aspx
  4. ^ http://www.coosart.org/2010/Thunder2011-presentation/index.html
  5. ^ http://uctaa.net/articles/graveyard/apathy/index.htm
  6. ^ http://uctaa.net/articles/graveyard/apathy/commandments.htm

External links[edit]