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INTRODUCTION First up I’d like to thank everyone who picked up the first issue of North, the feedback and support I received was amazing, so thank you. The second issue was always going to be tough as I had all the time I wanted for the first one with no real deadlines, and although I wanted to keep the feel and concept the same I knew I had to get this one out quicker. I gave myself 6-8 months to get all the content, which was pretty ambitious considering the harsh Scottish winters, it was a challenge, but I managed to pull it off. In this issue I’ve introduced a new ‘Guest Photographers’ section that will hopefully be a permanent feature. I’m still going to try my best to keep it film related, so I need you guys keep shooting film! I’m stoked on the photographers that are involved this issue, so keep them coming! I want to keep North a free publication so I need your help to hype it up! Blog, Tumblr, Facebook, Tweet, and Instagram it. Whatever you can do to get the word out there is really appreciated. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy North Issue 02. Graham Tait Editor/Photographer
Cover: Miles Kondracki - Crook Miles had told me that he’d found a spot in Edinburgh that hadn’t been seen or skated before. What he didn’t tell me is that it was situated in an alley that was used as a toilet for tramps and drunks. I’ve shot photos in horrible circumstances before, but when I need to compose a photo and be careful not to get the pile of human faeces in it, I should maybe start to think about what i’m doing with my life.
CONTENTS Tom Shimmin Photo Section Guest Photographers Rich Gilligan
Tom Shimmin Interview by Paul VX Photos by Graham Tait
Ok, you’re originally from the Lake District, did you skate in England before moving to Scotland? Only on my old fish shaped thing and only sitting on it going down hills in my village. Coming from from a rural area you moved to a new city and a different country, how was Glasgow or even Scotland in comparison, was it much of an adjustment? It took me ages to get used to the city. Had my board taken from me quite a few times trusting the wrong people. It was such a massive dose of freedom being able to do what I wanted in such a large area. But I got hooked on skating when we came to view houses for a weekend. I saw guys at Kelvingrove Park and got my mum to buy me a board from Argos, I think getting into that took the edge off moving from home. I remember the first time I went up to your flat, I thought you were having me on when we got to your door. You had the dream spot right next to the skatepark. How would you describe the old skates back then? We had quite a tight group that used to skate and film together everyday. Anytime we were all in the one place its just non stop reminiscing about those days. Yeah it was fucking awesome, best times of my life for sure! Just ditching school and hitting the park in the sun then going to the Uni to get a good chase off the guards. It was all fun and games until you ended up in the clink.
Ice poles, smokes and sunstroke! The uni was a bit mental then compared to now. There were always plenty of stories about uni guard beatings and chases. It has some great spots though so its hard to resist. It got to the point that the old veteran guard, the oldest shakiest thing i’ve ever seen without a walking stick, hopped a fence to try and get me in the middle of the street! I hope we’ve still got the footage of crumpet man. It should be somewhere deep in the vault. Do you remember that huge chase one afternoon, I had just turned up on a bike and cycled through the spot and they just started chasing after me down Byres Road after I asked what was wrong? I had to stand in a coffee shop queue to shake them off. I turned round and just saw you and Andy White jumping off a huge wall and them flying after you both in the van. Haha yeah, they kept on us for about an hour or so. I’m sure we went back for more after that too!
Kelvingrove park was obviously a huge part of skating to you growing up, what are your memories of the park before the skatepark was built and there was just the flat land? Once I got really excited about being able to go as fast as I could round and round in circles, then I hit a stone and took most of the skin off my hand, arm and cheek. I learned everything there including how to fall. You know when people asked which you learnt first, kickflip or heelflip? I can’t remember now. Is that sad? You should be able to remember right? I’ve got such a bad memory.
You talked about school earlier, how was that for you? I saw you down Kelvingrove pretty much everyday, did you have much time for school? Nah man, there were only a couple of teachers keeping me in school. I was into physics and chemistry. The rest of the time there was pretty much torture. I wasn’t allowed to walk around with my board, they used to confiscate it. I remember breaking into the head of years office a few times to steal it back, I remember the look on his face when I told the prick to fuck off for the first time. I can’t imagine your mum was too please with that, what sort of lengths did she go to to make sure you were there instead of the park?
Lets not forget the MBC ramps. Local is still one of the first memories I have of being exposed to skating in the city, that shop, those ramps! What a difference a makeshift driveway and a few flat bar rails made. Anytime we’re out and you see a local sticker you know its time to instagram! As far as local skaters went who did you look up to? John and Geoff Angus, their cousin Tom (who owned 4down skate shop), Andy Smyth and the other big lads. Best on the scene. Geoff would probably have invented a few things by now if he was still on it!
During one sunny day she had to come grab me from the park and drive me to school. I lasted about 20 mins before skating back. Then we repeated the process 2 hours later. Did you wake up to the police in your room once too? Yeah, the dude was just sitting there when I woke up, creepy as fuck! He taught me a lesson with some stern words. She tried hard that mum of mine!
Gap To Crook
Its funny you should say that, I literally messaged him an hour ago asking him to come out and film soon, I’m sure he could be persuaded. 4down was great, it was right next to my flat too when I first moved into the city. We all seemed to live really close to Kelvingrove, I think it’s time we spoke of the dole flat we had above the bedsits. Ah man that flat was so good while it lasted, 2 years of absolute mayhem! Coming home to a million dead wasps covering my room, a fire extinguisher filled hallway, and that time Kerr decided he could beat the H’min Bam Matt Pritchard crisp wrapper challenge by shoving 6/7 pens up his foreskin! Getting back from Roddy’s stag do to find a bloody trail up the stairs. Hendo trying to jump across the roof. Having to run down 3 flights of stairs to switch the fire alarm off in your boxers because you’ve burned some toast at 5am. Good times. We spoke earlier about guys you looked up to when you were younger, you mentioned some older guys. Was there anyone the same age you looked up to? You and Andy were always pushing each other skate wise, how did skating with him influence you? He could be a right headache at times, but I bet I was as well. He’s such a talented skater and he certainly kept me motivated with his skating to learn new stuff. With Andy it was just addictive fun non-stop.
You must have a favourite Andy anecdote involving you both you can entertain us with? Andy’s dad trying to get him to go inside and have a family meal. Andy’s just laying back on the bonnet of his neighbours car saying “OK, OK, I’ll come in if you can touch me... Go on touch me” “ C’mon to fuck Andy get inside and eat your dinner” “You can’t do it can you i’m too fast” His dad is standing half a meter away and goes for him, Andy slips across the car and the chase begins! Around the block into the main street. Funniest shit I’ve ever seen. He’s just been a part of starting up the GSS (Glasgow Society Of Skateboarding) recently, can you explain that a bit? John, Danny and I were out filming and decided we needed a name to unite all the footage Glasgow skaters were putting out. WCC (West Coast Connection) was such a good local set up and we wanted something equal to that so we created Glasgow Society of Skateboarding, GSS. Andy took straight to it and spread the word through every single internet connection he could. It just stuck and I’m very glad everyone got so hyped about the scene again. Yeah you can feel it’s different in a much more positive way. The fact so many people are involved seems to work really well in this case. Glasgow’s often portrayed as a dangerous and more or less angry place, but every city in general has its moments. How much of what you see in the media and have you actually experienced, and would you say is true? I’ve seen some mad stuff, big fights, knifings etc. But thankfully I’ve only ever been at the edge of the really bad stuff. People being held hostage with samurai swords, grenades being chucked out of windows things like that, those only come along once in a blue moon.
There’s always that dark side to a city. On the upside there seems to be a never ending stream of new spots and developments popping up all over the place. How would you say Glasgow has fared spot wise to other cities you’ve visited? Do you have a favourite? Yeah I think we’ve done not too bad for spots. I wish the architects who are paid to do certain places were allowed to be a bit more imaginative, but you can’t have everything. The new Clyde river side is probably one of my favourites. Just perfect long ledges and benches. I also like any banks I can get a good session on - Otago St, Western hospital and Mississippi banks.
I call a trip to Bristol!
When the Clydeside spot appeared it was amazing. I’m still surprised it wasn’t something they capped instantly! You’re more street orientated as opposed to a lot of a transition, do you still enjoy skating all the great transitional parks around scotland such as Livi, Dudhope etc?
You’re working at Vodafone now and have recently hooked me up with an iphone which has subsequently turned me into an instagram addict (@paulvx)! Graham has pointed out that it’s completely fine so it’s cool. How are you enjoying working there?
Fuck yeah! Haven’t been to Livi since one of the last fun days but I can’t wait to see what the new stuffs gonna be like. I’ve heard a lot of bad stuff about the guys getting it done but here’s hoping it’ll be done right. My favourite skatepark outside of Glasgow would probably be Dunblane. Well out the way but completely worth it.
Go down a couple weekends and hit up Owen Hopkins! Yeah I need a juggling lesson! He still owes me for cleaning his kitchen!
Selling to targets is a nightmare but it’s a good company to work for, my colleagues are great and I get discounts. The main downside is working 40 hours a week, I miss out on some great sessions! Just gotta keep my chin up and keep in contact with the lads.
You’re on Karma skateboards, can you talk about that and how your enjoying it? All the previous trips and experiences you’ve had with them so far have all sounded like a lot of fun All the guys on the team are so cool, such a good team to ride for. Mad props to Adam and Jane at iFive I owe them so much! I didn’t get to go on a mad trip with them last year hopefully get something sorted for 2013.
You’ve got to pay those bills now you’ve moved into a new place. It’s in Partick right round the corner from Clan, what’s it like living so close to the shop? It’s awesome having Clan as a neighbour. First thing I do in the day is drop in if I have time, I’ve cut down a bit in case Jamie gets sick of me. He’s always been very good to me! Always gonna represent! Has he taken you surfing yet? He’s tried and failed. I don’t like water much but I’ll give in at some point. It’ll be the height of summer when I do though, I saw him one winter morning when he’d just opened the shop and he’d been on the coast at 5/6am just to hit up some waves, mad!
What are you working on at the moment? What are your plans for 2013? Skate as much as possible! Got a GSS Berlin trip booked for April, the upcoming Paul VX TRIPLE CCD MEGA 3D BLOCKBUSTER coming up. Getting more footage for that. Couple of U.K. trips later in the year and as always GSS posts hitting YouTube non-stop! I want to see Kerr’s house this year as well. Karma edit too! Yeah we will go man, soon! Skate that infamous mini ramp. Of course! Mike from SuperToxic Urethane has been helping gather footage for the team so all the footage for this interview will be heading his way. Coincidentally we’ll be meeting up with them in Berlin. Yes! So to round the interview off i’ve asked people to mail some questions of their own and i’ve picked a top 5 so here it goes. A couple of these have been making me laugh. Kerr asks “Tom, what’s up with the switch flips?” Ah man, Kerr always makes fun of me, he can do them better than me. I’m just switch flip dyslexic. I have a floppy fish for a foot when it comes to flipping them. I hate them. SYB Dickson wants to know “What’s your favourite trick you have seen a scottish head do?”
Matt Fenton’s trick down Buchanan Street 11 set. So perfect, you just can’t beat it. But its best to keep it as much of a secret as possible as it will blow minds.
Finally Aaron Wilmot asks “When was the last time you slammed and cried and what was it like when I went by you on Gardner Street?”
I think this is my favourite question. Mark Maloney asks “when you threw that carton of soup off the uni guards security office what flavour was it?” Haha, tomato and basil I’m sure. Mike Cassidy wants to know “Parked car + firework equals?” There was an abandoned car in NCP which had been totally kicked in. Lyle started pitting his puny strength against the windscreen while myself and Jackson opened the boot. Someone comes across a tin of petroleum jelly on the front seat which said ‘Caution Extremely Flammable’ on it. This pyromanic with a lighter decides to test that out and 2 seconds later the whole seat is on fire. We all get about a floor down and there’s a massive boom and the entire building shakes. 7 years on the ceiling is still black.
HAHA! So I think it was after a good Renfrew sesh, Aaron is driving us back home and someone pipes up “Have you ever seen Gardner Street”? He’d never, but heard the great tales of the Glaswegian/SF hill bomb. This is the street you have to skate down to become a man, even if you sit down you know you’re a man. So Wilmot parks at the top and we’re all checking it out. I decide to give it a pitch dark blast, get to the last section and slow down as I know by the light of day there’s a shit load of pot holes down there. Just as I come to a halt I hear a roar behind me and before I can turn around Aaron smacks into my shoulder, starts speed wobbling like crazy and I think I’ve just seen the last few seconds of his life. He pulls through and starts down the last part. It’s at this point he hits a drain and rides the rest of the hill on his head and back The worst part is he had crawl back up the hill on his bloody hands and knees to get back to his car. If I’d filmed it it’d be the worst hall of meat you’ve ever laid eyes on. Who would you like to thank? Kerr, Rowan, Paul VX for the interview, Simie, Clan, Jangus, Karma/iFive, Graham for the photos, and everyone else. Cheers.
Photo Section By Graham Tait
Aaron Wilmot - Backside Ollie
Dave Lane - Backside Heelflip
Adam Paris - Body Jar
Neil Scott - Noseblunt Pop Out
Ben Raemers - Crook
Kerr McLachlan - Wallride
Bobby Baillie - Front Board
Charles Myatt - Front Crook
George Horler - Wallie
Keith Allan - Switch Ollie
Freddie Lusk - Front Shuv
Danny Jack - Back Tail
Chris Weir - Backside Noseblunt
Marcel Veldman Rafael Gonzalez Leo Sharp Rob Salmon Norman Luzinsky Gareth Costello Stuart Robinson Reece Leung Sam Muller
Marcel Veldman - Tim Zom
Marcel Veldman - Tim Zom - Frontside Feeble
Marcel Veldman - Youness Amrani - Front Blunt
Rafael Gonzales - Max Frion - Switch Heelflip
Leo Sharp - Dave Snaddon - Front Blunt Transfer
Leo Sharp - Steve King - Front Shuv
Rob Salmon - Myles Rushforth - Crook Bonk
Norman Luzinsky - Shaun Witherup - BS Noseblunt
Gareth Costello - Adam Logan
Gareth Costello - Adam Logan - 50-50
Stuart Robinson - Conhuir Lynn - Pivot Fakie
Stuart Robinson - Denis Lynn - 50-50
Reece Leung - Josh Arnott - Noseblunt
Sam Muller - Fort Miley Hike
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Gilligan Interview by Graham Tait Portrait by Steve Ryan Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get into photography? I first started shooting pictures of my close friends with shitty disposable cameras and my dad’s point & shoot Olympus when I was about 14 I think. The results were pretty awful but I persisted, and at about 16 saved up and bought myself an old manual SLR Fujica camera, and still the results were pretty awful. It’s funny now in this digital age to think back to how steep the learning curve once was for photographers starting out.
When did you realize that you could take a decent photo? I mean, was there a specific photo that you remember taking and thinking, shit, i could maybe do something with this? Honestly I can’t think of one particular photo where I thought “Wow, maybe I could do this?” but I do distinctly remember the first time I ever stepped foot into a darkroom and this had a big impact on me. The smell of the chemistry, the creepy red light bulb and seeing a print slowly appear onto photographic paper swishing around in the developer for the very first time really got me hooked. I became completely obsessed with trying to learn how to do my own black & white prints to the highest standard possible. That was the moment when I felt I was definitely hooked on photography. All those hours in the darkroom taught me that in order to make good prints I needed good negatives which meant I had to take better photographs, so it all fed into each other.
What was the scene like in Dublin? Was it hard to get people to shoot with you? The scene in Dublin at that time was really small and tight knit. Although the overall standard of skating was nowhere near the level it is at today there were guys I was skating with every week like Al Collins, Bruce Kelliher and Wayne Gallagher who were really starting to push themselves and I was lucky enough to be around to document that at that time. In terms of getting people to shoot with me before I’d ever had anything published, I never had any problems but I think that was probably just because I was one of the only people shooting skate photos in the country at that time so everyone was cool with it.
Did you find it difficult to get your photos published? It’s very hard to get your foot in the door. I think I was lucky with getting work published quite early on, but I think that may have been because I was so self critical about my photos that I wasn’t going to send anything to a mag unless I felt it was really really good. The first photo I had published was used as a Gallery double spread in SLAP which was my always my favourite mag so I can remember freaking out when that came about. Once SLAP ran the photo of Bruce all of a sudden I was in a position where photographer’s like Wig Worland and Leo Sharp began to encourage me to send work into Sidewalk. Looking back on it they were so good to me as I was just a wide-eyed kid who really didn’t have a clue technically, but they would post me packages of film and phone me up to talk me through my mistakes after I had submitted work. Wig even got me to come on shoots around Europe with him for Sidewalk but he would request that I didn’t shoot skate photos but just cover the documentary side of things which I was so stoked on. He shot the action and I just goofed off shooting random portraits and chatted to all these pro’s I’d looked up to for years. Those early trips were so much fun with Niall Neeson, Wig and me just tagging along rookie style. In terms of making a living from skate photography, I was never under any illusions about this so I always held down other part time jobs to support myself. I do think there are a select few who can make a living from it but I think I had figured out quite early on that I never wanted to just photograph skateboarding and had I gone down that road full time I think I may have gotten burnt out on it quickly. Saying that, if you look at someone like Atiba Jefferson, Mike O’Meally or Brian Gaberman, these guys have all managed to continually pursue their own personal interests in photography outside of their day job as skate photographers and that must be a pretty nice existence.
You were a part of the Philip Evans Documentary ‘Format Perspective’ (which was great by the way), how did that come about?
Most skateboard photographers have another job, to pay the rent! What are you currently working as? I currently work as professional photographer working on a wide range of commissions, from record label stuff and advertising campaigns to fashion and editorial portrait work to pay the bills. It’s hard work at times and like anything freelance based it has its ups and downs but I feel lucky that I am able to survive purely from my photography. I also constantly pursue my own personal documentary photography projects which I exhibit as much as possible and which is how my DIY book came about.
Phil literally just called me up one day and mentioned the idea and I was down. The end result was amazing and it opened lots of doors for Phil and everyone else involved. I was really happy with my part except for this weird outtake of me laughing hysterically that he put in right at the start of my section and it’s become a bit of an on-going joke at how cringy it is. Phil’s a super cool guy to work with though and he works his ass off on every project he pursues, which is really admirable.
You’ve recently released a book. Were you commissioned to do it or was it all off your own back? The book was published by an Paris based publisher called “1980 Editions” and Carhartt helped us out a bit which was an amazing help, especially towards the last few months of shooting. The project wasn’t commissioned however as I funded most of the work myself through my own commercial work over 4 years. I was also studying a Masters in Photography in Belfast during the final 2 years of making this work so I was trying to get as much feedback from my tutors when I was doing the final edit for the book. I had actually been working on the book for almost 3 years before I was offered a publishing deal. My plan the whole time was to self-publish so when this opportunity came along, I jumped at it.
A lot of these D.I.Y spots have pretty protective locals, did you have any trouble taking photos or even skating? It’s funny, loads of people have asked me this but I think that idea of over-protective locals is all in people heads. 99% of the places I visited and photographed people greeted me with open arms. I mean somewhere like Burnside you could maybe get vibed a bit but you’re fine once you just talk to people and they realise that you are actually a skater and not just some randomer with a camera trying to exploit all their hard graft and claim it as your own. Some of the locals I met in Burnside were the friendliest, warmest people you could come across but then you bump into some total dicks along the way too, it’s the same as anywhere really. How did the idea for the book come about? The idea came about at a point in my life where I was so busy and bogged down with just working commercially in photography that I felt I needed to come up with a project that I could fully immerse myself in. The idea of a book was the perfect solution for this for a number of reasons. Firstly, because as a photographer I’ve always loved looking at work through books, probably even more so than going to exhibitions. I love the idea that you can build a narrative in a series of photographs and bring the viewer on a visual journey with you deep inside whatever subject matter it is that you are dealing with. For me this subject matter was my own personal experience of the world around me as a skateboarder by using DIY skateparks as the link to tie this all together.
Why did you choose to shoot everything on film? Film can be unpredictable, were you scared that something may go wrong?
Do you have a favourite place that you visited, or a favourite photo from the book? I really liked FDR in Philadelphia as the locals there were so cool to me and my good friend Turlough on every trip we made there. It’s really fun to skate and rarely feels too crowded as it is all so spread out. I was also a huge Toy Machine fan during their “Jump Off A Building” days and I always loved the look of the footage they had from FDR in that video.
I learned everything I know about photography shooting on film so for me it seemed like an obvious choice. I also just really enjoy the process and more considered ap- proach you need to have when shooting on film. Like a lot of photographers I know I have this ongoing dilemma about film vs. digital and I have yet to come to any conclu- sion. There is something I just love about shooting on film, especially when you can work with a talented printer who can print by hand. The warmth and tonal range of a traditional c-type hand print is still hard to beat.
What have you been up to since the release of the book? I’ve just been busy promoting it as much as possible with launches in Paris, Dublin and London which has been going great. I also got shortlisted for SHOWCASE Contemporary Photography Award which aims highlights the best of contemporary practice in Ireland, so some of the DIY work is hanging the Gallery of Photography in Dublin at the moment. Thankfully I have also been kept busy with lots of commercial work and I’ve been getting out to skate as much as I can which is easier said than done in depths of this dark Irish winter.
I recently bought a film point and shoot camera to document more of what i’m up too when i’m out shooting. Are you still as into shooting the action side of skate photography, or do you prefer documenting the skaters/spots/lifestyle? No matter how much I try to force myself to shoot things outside of skateboarding I am always somehow drawn back to it sooner or later. I do enjoy shooting portraits and small moments more these days than shooting the action itself, but that has always been the case in a way. I haven’t been shooting as much pure skate stuff at all lately as any time I have free I find I would rather just go and skate myself as opposed to shooting skate photos. I do still really enjoy it but I only tend to shoot skate photos with people I actually want to shoot with. I no longer have any motivation to hang around the bottom of handrails with kids half my age. Does that sound really jaded? Fuck it... It’s the truth. Are you working on anything right now? What are your plans for 2013? I’ve already got plans for a new project that will eventually become another book/exhibition but it’s early days so I’d rather not count my chickens before they’re hatched. At the moment I’m in research mode for this new project. All I need to do now is find a big bag of cash to fund my idea. Stranger things have happened though, I got a book published about DIY skateparks for fucks sake...
All photographs taken from Rich Gilligans book ‘DIY’. Available now at www.carhartt-wip.com
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Photographers Rich Gilligan Gareth Costello Leo Sharp Marcel Veldman Norman Luzinsky Rafael Gonzalez Reece Leung Rob Salmon Sam Muller Steve Ryan Stu Robinson
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Published on Jul 3, 2013
Scottish based skateboard photography magazine concentrating on film photography. Featuring: Tom Shimmin Rich Gilligan & Guest Photographer...