27/06/2013 | by Arthur Derrien
1.Kristian Bomholt, backside flip. Barcelona, 2004.
The first photo that comes to my mind when someone asks me about a favourite photo of mine from past years, is this one. I met Kristian in Barcelona around 2003-2004, and I was lucky to go out to get some photos with him a few times over the next few years. It was shot in downtown Barcelona, whilst skating with Kristian and Dani (Lebrón). The noise of Kristian jumping on the board and pushing caused the pigeons to fly off, after which they decided to turn around to the left, flying between his backside flip and my lens. When this type of thing happens – especially when you shoot on film – you are never sure how it’s going to come out. Were the pigeons in the picture or not? And, if so, how where were they positioned? You’re always hoping that something nice was frozen in the frame, but often the result can be quite hard to predict. I needed a few looks at the negative, a couple days later, to see that the image had come out even better than I expected.
2.Jürgen Horrwarth, ollie in, Bulgaria. 2006.
I think in most cases, certainly when shooting skateboarding, shots from above are the best angles. Or maybe it’s just an angle you don’t find that often and that makes it look better. Whatever the reason is, I think in this particular case it worked perfectly to show just how hard was the place was to skate – something [skateboard] photography can lack sometimes. This was my first and only trip to Bulgaria, it was for a vert demo and local contest that Kingpin had set up. The demo was far away from civilization, and the only ‘street’ skating that we found was this ditch. The ground was so rough that you could barely call it ‘ground’, and this big bank you could easily call a ‘wall’. I wish I could shoot everywhere from above, unfortunately out budgets don’t stretch a helicopter yet.
3.Barefoot skating in the rain. Porto, Portugal 2005.
This was a day of skating broken up by bouts of rain on a tour in Casa da Musica, Porto, and these feet belong to Karsten Heinrichs. He was passionate about the art of Bonsai and I’d say skateboarding fell below or at best on par with Bonsai trees on his list of loves. Just as we’d decided to head off to a bar to drown our sorrows about the rain, he took off his tee shirt and shoes and proceeded to skate down the now slippery bank which acted more like a waterslide whenever he fell off his board – which was pretty often. One of the most fun moments on a board I’ve seen.
4.Marcelo, crooked grind, Rome. 2002.
Of the photos I’m most proud of over the past ten years, rarely do the ones with the hardest tricks rank high. I’ve always thought skate photos are often too focused on the trick – which is totally understandable – but I’ve always enjoyed seeing a photo published when it isn’t necessarily just the documentation of a hard trick. That’s why I was glad to get this one as a double page in Kingpin, back in 2002. In fact, it was my first trip with a camera and it was really badly organised. I only had a telephone number of a supposed local, someone whom I’d never met – who I called using a public telephone by the way, since most cellphones didn’t work outside your own country by then, or at least mine didn’t anyway… Luckily that number turned out to be a very helpful veteran local who gathered a few friends to help me out with getting some photos for the article, and young Marcelo was one of them.
5. Downhill Tenerife. 2003.
Ten years ago I was invited to take photos on a trip to Tenerife with the then Adidas European team. Except for Juju (Julian Bachelier), who I’d met before through Antiz, I didn’t know anyone. We were stood in a house surrounded by banana fields, the owner had rented the house for 4 people to stay, and we turned out to be 10. We had to watch so as not to be seen by the lady when she came by for a surprise visit to make sure the house was in one piece. It was fun, we had our own hide & seek game going for ten days straight. We did well, I think, and although I’m sure the lady suspected something, we played our game properly and she didn’t catch us. That was, until the end of the trip. When, after endless nights of chain-drinking six-packs, BBQ’s, and cumulative hangovers, we were finally caught. By the time she arrived that last morning, which I honestly don’t remember at all, she found the house upside down. The 3 sofas were filled with stinky, drunken, snoring dudes. The floor was flooded with empty bottles of wine and cans of beer, ashtrays everywhere with butts of hash joints. Sleeping bags stuffed with human bodies stretched from the front door to the kitchen. The corridor full of bags and dirty socks from 3 different countries. The backyard was showing signs of several straight nights BBQing. The beds were filled with 2 or 3 people each. The walls on the top terrace had been skated, probably by Seb and Antony, who fell asleep right beside it. That trip was one for posterity. Here’s younger versions of some of the people who formed that epic trip: Julien Bachelier, Seb Daurel, Torsten Frank, Lem Villemin, Jascha Muller, Pierre Prospero, Guillaume Dulout, Daniel Von Bernstorff and Antony Lopez. Good times.