Take a look at skateboarding from a new angle, through a new lens, with a fresh perspective. This is the world of womenâ€™s skateboarding captured by the women who live it and breathe it.
Issue 2 // 2017
Zorah Olivia From an internship at Camp Woodward to photographing some of the world’s biggest skate industry events for Mahfia.tv, Zorah’s photography career has gone from strength to strength. To top it all off, she recently had five of her photos published in Thrasher Magazine. It’s fair to say that Zorah is leading the way for female photographers in the skate industry. Photography runs in your family; how much did this influence your decision to pick up a camera? Do you feel like you have standards to live up to because of your family history? My parents were always open minded and supportive of whatever I wanted to pursue. They were even there cheering me on when I had my heart set on soccer or taekwondo, even though my interest usually didn’t last long. I have so many fond memories from my childhood of days spent on photoshoots or in the studio watching my mom paint. I remember my family telling me that a career in the arts would be difficult and often unreliable but the most rewarding as long as
your heart remains in your craft. I don’t feel like they have placed any standards on me other than to be the best person I can be and treat others with kindness, I’m so thankful for their love and support. Who is your favourite skater to shoot and who haven’t you photographed that you would like to? The list is too long to pick a favorite but recently I have been going out shooting with Dave Mull and The Worble crew, it’s always a good time! I love those dudes. Jenn Soto and I have an amazing skater/photographer relationship as well. There’s never any pressure, we just hype each other up!
Vanessa Torres, lipslide, Los Angeles 2017. Zorah Olivia
Lacey Baker, f/s flip, Los Angeles 2016. Zorah Olivia
You shoot a lot of street photos but you have also shot some big events like Street League. Which do you prefer to photograph and why? Creatively, I prefer shooting in the streets but contests challenge me in other ways! When I’m out street skating, it’s often just me and the skater and we have time to collaborate and plan how we want the photo to look. With contests, everyone is skating at the same time, it’s almost like a marathon to capture all of the tricks happening around you at once. I love it though! You’ve been shooting skate photos for a while, but you got your big break through Mahfia.tv. How did this connection come about and what opportunities did it present? I emailed Kim Woozy, the creator of Mahfia, about summer internships back when I was going to college in Maryland. I actually forgot that I emailed her when I received a response about 2 months later. She told me that she checked out my website and really liked my
photos. We ended up talking on the phone for 45 minutes and she invited me to shoot X Games on that same call. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kim Woozy and Mimi Knoop’s support. The thank you list is a long one, there are so many incredible men and women in the skateboarding community that have supported me over the past year. Describe your perfect day in LA when you’re not shooting photos. Sleep in a little longer than usual, make a nice breakfast, and spend the day reading on the beach somewhere far from the city. What would be your dream photography assignment? Who, what, where and when? I would love to spend a year traveling around the world with a skate team/brand, preferably with all of the girls! My fantasy though is being a personal photographer for Ru Paul or Ellen Degeneres (I’m laughing to myself as I write this).
Nora Vasconcellos, Los Angeles 2016. Zorah Olivia
Vanessa Torres, Los Angeles 2016. Zorah Olivia
Nayat Cheikh Both Nayat and her twin sister Sara are well-known and well-respected within the Barcelona skate scene and if you’ve ever met them you will have noticed the incredible bond they share. Through her recently conceived project, sarabynay, Nayat captures photos of Sara, both on and off her board, from a twins point of view. What does a usual day look like for you living in the skateboarding mecca of Barcelona? I don’t have a certain routine but normally I work, skate, go to the beach and enjoy the street life Barcelona offers... la bella vita! Of all of Barcelona’s amazing skate spots, which one is your favorite? Barceloneta and Fondo are two of my favourite spots. You have a twin sister, Sara, who you photograph for your project, sarabynay. How did this idea come about? We always skate together so starting to take photos of her was actually pretty natural. My sessions with Sara are always fun. Anyone who knows Sara can tell how funny and genuine she is. I try to capture the moments we share, before or after skating, spontaneously. I don’t shoot necessarily tricks; I prefer to capture a certain moment I want to remember for a certain reason. I don’t think about this as a photographic project; it’s just a way to remember the good moments I share with the person I love the most. So I would rather say that it’s an ode to my Sara (Mi Sara).
You currently just post the photos of Sara on your @sarabynay Instagram account. Do you have any plans to publish them outside of Instagram? I just started taking photos so I haven’t thought about going further with this. I don’t even know if is this is good enough. I will just keep taking my camera everywhere and will see if I go a bit further with this or not. Have you ever played any funny twin pranks on people? Haha, this question... it’s a must for all the twins I guess but no, we never did that. If you had never picked up a skateboard, how do you think your life would be different today? Uff, I don’t know. Skateboarding gave me all the good things I have right now. My friends, my job, the city I live in... I think I would have felt lost in my teenage years because skateboarding helped me a lot to stay focused and positive about everything. I guess I would be more into playing music. Before skating I started to play guitar but quit ‘cause all my time was dedicated to skate. Or maybe I would be playing golf, haha. I always liked golf.
Sara Cheikh, Barcelona 2017. Nayat Cheikh
Sara Cheikh, Barcelona 2017. Nayat Cheikh
Sara Cheikh, b/s no comply 360, Barcelona 2017. Nayat Cheikh
Jenna Selby Jenna is one of the UK’s most influential women in skateboarding, having founded Rogue Skateboards and produced two all female skate films including As If And What? in 2012 and the recent Days Like These. A pioneer in women’s skate photography, Jenna has been on a board and behind the lens since the 90s and has documented skateboarders ever since. What inspired you to make Days Like These? In 2009 I made my first full length skate film called As If and What? and had always thought I’d make another. I started on a project called Scratch the Surface in 2011, which was to be a worldwide edit but unfortunately all of my equipment got stolen at the first stop in Ecuador. I ummed and arred for a while about making another film, then in 2015 there seemed to be loads of new female riders coming through in the UK and it just seemed like the right time to do another. What was the filming process like? How long did you work on it and what was the most challenging part? I’m not going to lie, it is a hard/fun slog!! :) I set myself a deadline of a year, decided on who to ask to be part of it and then started organising meet ups with people. I spoke to the riders involved and said that I’d
be looking for most of the footage to be shot in the street. I also mentioned that I was really keen to focus on their individual styles and try and steer clear, where possible, from the very standard tricks. Unfortunately for Camilla, she broke her hip on one of our early filming missions coming out of a tailslide awkwardly and we had to use previous footage which is why she ended up having a bit more park than the others. Then we broke Sabine Haller (her coccyx) on the first day of filming over in Ireland... so it wasn’t a good start! We actually used that bit of footage at the start of the video though—but I can’t watch it anymore. I think the only really challenging thing was when I arranged to meet up with one of the girls (generally it involved travelling a fair distance/ time and cost) and then they’d turn around and say ‘I’m not feeling it today’ which did prove a bit frustrating. But all in all I enjoyed doing it.
Lucy Adams, wallride, Littlehampton 2015. Jenna Selby
Helena Long, ollie over the rail, London 2017. Jenna Selby
Julia Brueckler, noseslide, Seattle 2015. Jenna Selby
Do you have any advice for girls thinking about producing a skate video? When I started out filming I had no idea what I was doing. I’d watched a lot of skate films and took more note of the bits that I liked from each. I guess in a way that was my research. I love music, I love seeing and being able to capture people landing tricks and that’s the feeling and energy I wanted to put into my work. The one thing that has really stuck with me throughout making the films was an article I read in Kingpin years ago which said ‘filming skateboarding has no rules’. This is the thing you should remember when making a film, you are creating for you, not someone else. Which do you prefer, filming or shooting still photos? Photography has always been my first love, filming just kind of happened through it. You shoot skateboarding in a very classic style. What inspires your skate photography? I don’t really think I’ve focused on a style as such, I just shoot in the way I see skateboarding. It’s a bit like how you as a skater, envisage
a trick on an obstacle. As soon as you see something skateable you start thinking what trick do I want to do on that, where would I start the trick, come out, the landing etc—it works in the same way for me when I take a photograph. The only way I can put it is that I just get a feeling of what I know is right (for me) and the outcome I want. What are your thoughts about skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport? Ha hmm well I guess I am not too keen on the idea but I always contradict myself when someone asks me this question! My idea of a comp is a bunch a skaters all shouting/cheering at whoever is on the course and going absolutely nuts when they land a trick you can see they really wanted. Watching some of the higher profile comps, this atmosphere seems to have been lost and it’s almost verging on being sterile. Personally I find it strange to ‘train’ for skateboarding. However, that said, I do have friends who have the chance to compete, fulfilling their dreams at the Olympics in 2020, so from their point of view I can see that it can be a positive thing.
Lucy Adams, ollie, London 2012. Jenna Selby
Lacey Baker & Alexis Sablone, Barcelona 2012. Linnea Bullion
Nora Vasconcellos & Loo, Oceanside 2017. Linnea Bullion
Do you even skate? Words and photos by Linnea Bullion Most people assume I skate––it’s an easy mistake to make; from my Vans to the company I keep, much of my life since 2011 has been influenced by skateboarding–– but I don’t. I can push down the length of a parking lot (though lord help me if there are cracks or pebbles or even the remotest of a decline). You’ll never see me mall grab. I can nod knowingly when you discuss the decline of shoe companies or the resurgence of small, independent skate brands. But still, I don’t skate. I’m met with various reactions to this discovery: laughs, looks of incredulity, exclamations of “That’s awesome!” and––rarely––mocking, anger, and/or disappointment. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to learn, or that I haven’t told myself I’m going to. What has always stopped me is a deep-rooted self-consciousness pertaining to anything athletic and, ultimately, the always-surprising, unwaveringly swift passage of time (I can’t believe it’s been six years). I understand the allure of skateboarding all too well. I was nineteen when I first encountered it. At that point, the only question I had asked of my life was, “What next?” Around skateboarders it was simply, “What now?” Right now––the only moment that matters.
It’s a beautiful ideology, and one with which I have since grappled. It’s much easier to say you’re living in the present than to confront actually doing so. Photography is, after all, all about the moment. At a time in my life when I was feeling dejected and directionless (as many nineteen-year-olds do), photographing skaters brought back my passion for the art of pictures. It emboldened me. There are days I’m disenchanted with skateboarding. As someone who still has a knack for planning, it can be painful to feel left behind. There are days I wish my friends made more time for me––but I can never hold anger towards someone for doing what they love, and I will never regret the time I’ve spent in the adopted culture that has so fully embraced me. Skateboarding has allowed me experiences of which I never would have dreamed, and the opportunity to meet individuals I’m grateful to have in my life. It has afforded me friends in any city, instilled confidence in my ability to approach strangers, pushed me towards not letting myself be the reason I don’t pursue a photo project, and left me with too many marvelous memories to recount in this small space. And I don’t even skate.
Lacey Baker, Encinitas 2016. Linnea Bullion
Sarah Meurle, Copenhagen 2013. Linnea Bullion
Alana Paterson With a client list including the likes of Nike, Levi’s and HUF, Alana has paved her way to a successful photography career. It all began with skate photos of her friends at home in Canada, and though she now documents many different sub cultures and lifestyles, skateboarding still remains a reappearing subject in her work. You’ve worked for some pretty impressive clients and established a name for yourself as a photographer. Was there a particular point when you felt like you had ‘made it’? Haha I have never felt like I have made it. When I look back at my prior goals I have made it like 17 times but in retrospect those goals were naive and not “making it” at all. My goals now are too probably, haha. I have the type of personality where I’m never satisfied. Maybe for a few days or weeks I’ll feel chuffed about something but then shortly after I’m like, ok, back to work, what’s next. What advice would you give to someone looking to follow a similar path in photography? Make choices about your practice and stick to them. Don’t let money or the path of least resistance dictate what you put out in the world. Do you have a career goal you haven’t reached yet, or are you just taking it as it comes? Many.
You shoot mostly lifestyle and editorial but what inspires you to shoot skate photos? Shooting skating is always fun. I don’t do it a lot but when I do it’s always a good time. I loved skateboarding so much when I was a kid and even though I don’t get to skate a whole lot these days a love that strong never really goes away. What’s your favourite camera/lens combo for skate photos and why? Probably a Nikon f100 and a 38mm lens to 50mm lens. Prime lens though. I’ve never really been into too wide lenses. I kind of like photos to look the way I actually see them before I pick up my camera. When you’re not shooting photos or skateboarding, where can you be found and how do you spend your time? You can find me working in my garden or helping out on the farm in Pemberton or out in the gulf island with my dog and boyfriend in our new boat Cape Annie.
Rachelle, Dede & Nina, New York 2017. Alana Paterson
Rachelle Vinberg, daffy, New York 2017. Alana Paterson
Rachelle Vinberg, wallride, New York 2017. Alana Paterson
Rachelle Vinberg, shooting the duck, New York 2017. Alana Paterson
Sonia Ziegler Even with so few years behind the lens, Sonia has a very impressive portfolio of powerful shots. Her eye for light and composition is undeniably fine-tuned and, whether she’s photographing the Dalai Lama or a skateboarder, Sonia has a natural gift for capturing the moment. You have developed a unique style in the short time you’ve been shooting. Was this something you were consciously striving for or did it come naturally? Actually, it came more natural than I ever expected. Before I started shooting skate photos, I never thought I would end up creating anything like this black and white artistic style of mine. I simply had a borrowed Canon camera and two friends with me, one summer day in Copenhagen in 2015, and then it all started. We were biking around CPH to shoot photos, and when arriving at a spot next to the Red Plaza in Nørrebro, something happened. The ground at the spot was filled with stripes, and somehow I
instantly saw opportunities. And since then, I’ve been working a lot with lines, forms, shapes, shadows, compositions etc. Are there particular photographers you look up to and are inspired by? Well, I have never really been the hanging-up-posters-of-myidols kind of person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look up to anyone. I admire so many people and their work, and I get inspired from so many different things. I have many friends around me whom I find insanely talented and dedicated, and I get very inspired from them and passionate people in general.
Noelia Canaparo, kickflip, Buenos Aires 2016. Sonia Ziegler
Anairam De Leon, powerslide, Rio De Janeiro 2016. Sonia Ziegler
You’ve recently returned to Copenhagen from a nine month stint in South America. What was the craziest place you skated or shot a skate photo? The skatepark in La Paz Bolivia, was probably the coolest place I had a little session going on, just because I had heard so much about it and finally I was able to visit it. Then Brazil must have been the best place where I shot skate photos. I feel like a left that country with a bunch of bad ass shots! What’s in your camera bag when you travel? I usually keep it very simple and just carry one camera house and maybe 2 or 3 lenses. I prefer not to carry around lots of heavy equipment. How do you choose your travel destinations and where is the next place you plan to go? It’s hard to explain, because I feel like every trip was created so differently. Sometimes I choose a certain destination and plan the trip before leaving, and other times I rather spontaneously end up going somewhere. It’s always different. My next destination will be Japan, which I am sure is going to be an exciting trip! Are there any places you’ve been that had an amazing skate culture or community you didn’t expect to find? When traveling, I haven’t really seen any tight skate community I didn’t expect to find before arriving, but sometimes I’ve been passing through smaller villages around the world, where I would end up discovering small local skateparks. In these small cities, I have never seen any solid skate scene, but it’s funny to see how some desolate towns actually can have proper skateparks too.
Lisa Jacob, Bangalore 2016. Virginia Fernandes
Atita Verghese & Lisa Jacob, Goa 2016. Virginia Fernandes
Virginia Fernandes Connecting with people around the world is surprisingly easy when youâ€™re a part of the tightly woven web of womenâ€™s skateboarding. At the beginning of 2016, it appeared that India became the centre of this web, as thirteen females from across the globe came together for the Girls Skate India Tour. Along for the ride was French-Swiss videographer and photographer, Virginia Fernandes. In pursuit of her vision to get more girls on skateboards, Bangalore local and founder of Girls Skate India, Atita Verghese, hosted the first ever all-female skate tour of India.
The bus full of girls travelled across India, hosting skate clinics for the locals kids, building DIY spots and tearing up all the parks along the way.
With an open invite to all ladies of shred from around the world, the tour crew consisted of skaters from Australia, France, Germany, Denmark, Nepal, India, Israel, USA and Belgium.
Thanks to Virginia, the special moments the crew experienced live on through her digital and analogue photography and the official tour film she produced.
One of those skateboarders was Virginia; there with her camera in hand to capture the thrills, spills and good times.
Her colourful images capture moments of connection; amongst the tour members, with the locals, and between the skater and the skateboard that brought them all together.
Jocelyn Tam After leaving her home in Hong Kong to spend time in Australia and London, Jocelyn’s curiosity in youth led her to work on a series of documentaries with skateboarders across Europe. These documentaries form her project Skate Create Unknown, which shines the spotlight on creative people who are passionate about skateboarding. Shooting portraits on film, her photos depict her interpretation of the subject’s story. How did you get into skateboarding and become so immersed in the global skate community? When I was a teenager, I wanted to skate so much that I bought myself a skateboard, but I hurt myself so bad once that my mum stopped me skateboarding. I guess moving to London gave me a chance to get back into it.
great and I respect that, however, for me I want to cover the creative people who are striving to make this community better and stronger. I think their stories are inspiring and I want to share those stories with people. I guess for me, it’s just another perspective. I learn so much from all these interviews and have so much respect for these people!
I used to go to House of Vans very often. I met Patricio Alvarez, Sophia Bennett at South Bank and Eloise Dörr at Parlour skate store. Later on, I started going to Mile End and got to know more people. The people I have met in the community are truly awesome. It feels like a big family and we are here for one another.
What are your future plans/goals for Skate Create Unknown? The first thing is uploading all the interviews that I have done. The wait has been way too long.
What inspired you to start Skate Create Unknown? I think all the good friends I made in the skateboarding community inspired me. Also, I think the media is mostly covering the skateboarders doing tricks, which I think is
I hope to connect more with the local community and South East Asia. I would love to get to know more female skateboarders and share their stories. Maybe some collaborations with other skateboarders. In the future, I really hope that there will be a print media of Skate Create Unknown and an exhibition.
Louisa Menke, Berlin 2015. Jocelyn Tam
Louisa Menke, Berlin 2015. Jocelyn Tam
The Start, London 2015. Jocelyn Tam
Who was your favourite person to interview and why? This is a very tough question! Since every single one is special. If I have to say one, Sergej Vutuc. It might be because Sergei is a photographer himself. I arrived at his studio. Sergei was preparing his trip to Japan, literally it was next morning. So I was very thankful for the time that he made for the interview. At the beginning, I sat on the couch, looking around his studio. Things on the shelfs, vinyls that he plays (so many!), prints on the floors, notes on the wall. While Sergei was busy at organising prints, numbering, assembling zines and etc. Sergei didnâ€™t talk much or he was too focused at preparing. After 15 minutes, I started having a conversation with Sergei. He is a straight forward person, he tells you his points of views on art, music and skateboarding; also
challenges your way of thinking (in a good way). He is a very generous, open minded person, with a sense of humour. I just wish I had more time with him! Do you photograph many skaters in Hong Kong or mostly overseas? I am doing both now. I have been quiet for a while but will be going to Go Skateboarding Day in June in Hong Kong, and I am so looking forward to it! Since I started Skate Create Unknown, whenever I go travelling or working overseas I try to stay behind for a few days, get in touch with local skateboarders and do interviews. You shoot a lot of fashion photography; do you feel this discipline is completely separate from your skate photography or do they influence each other? Everything is connected, I believe.
EMPOWERING YOUTH T H R O U G H S K AT E B O A R D I N G A N D E D U C AT I O N
S K AT E I S TA N. O R G
Photographers Zorah Olivia (USA) Nayat Cheikh (ESP) Jenna Selby (GBR) Linnea Bullion (USA) Alana Paterson (CAN) Sonia Ziegler (DNK) Virginia Fernandes (FRA) Jocelyn Tam (HKG)
With special thanks to
Produced for Yeah Girl CPH 2017 Design & interviews by Sarah Huston Copyright is reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.
www.yeahgirl .com . au
Take a look at skateboarding from a new angle, through a new lens, with a fresh perspective. This is the world of women’s skateboarding capt...
Published on Jul 12, 2017
Take a look at skateboarding from a new angle, through a new lens, with a fresh perspective. This is the world of women’s skateboarding capt...