Sunday, February 7, 2010

Surfing's Baby Brother

Surfing's baby brother skateboarding has gone and gotten all grown up. Spawned on flat days or windy afternoons to scratch that whole sideways slipping itch, it has grown and grown, spreading where surfing can’t; to anywhere on the planet with a solid smooth surface.

Skate photography has developed with it and quite frankly blows my hair back. The majority of surf action images are restricted to sky, sea and surfer in various combinations and with a narrow range of colours (blue or grey sky, blue, green or grey water and a surfer in boardshorts or a wetsuit…) and it’s pretty rare to find a good eye catching background or foreground.
But look at the options available to the image makers for skating…a static environment, the chance to repeat a trick or run until the shot’s nailed, lighting rigs, colour, outfits, props, long exposures and rear curtain flashes, shooting inside studios, and all manner of complicated photographic techniques that I don’t know enough about because I don’t have to.

I’m not putting down surf photography in the slightest, it’s incredibly difficult and you’re at the mercy of the elements and chance a whole heap more, not to say dangerous for the guys who swim around with heavy water-housings. But I’m envious of the opportunities that skate photogs have to manipulate their subjects and settings, and I’m certain that if I lived in a city I’d spend a lot of time chasing skate rats with my camera. The closest surfing has come is probably the award winning Insight51 “Dopamine” campaign shot by Dustin Humphrey under the artistic direction of Steve Gorrow, but guys are out there trying new things all the time. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

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