I think one of the hardest aspects of this kind of photography is the fact that you can’t rely solely on yourself to get a final product. I can work hard all day, managing every tiny aspect of a shot, making thousands of exposures, and there is still one element of the photo that I have no control over: whether or not the trick was landed.
I have upwards of 1000 photos of Randy trying this one trick. That’s at several exposures per attempt, but he still tried it more than 150 times. There’s always a sweet spot somewhere in the middle, where the rider is warmed up, but not exhausted. Toward the end though, things just start falling off because there’s no more energy left to try.
Then, after the trick has finally been landed, there’s an ethical question to deal with. Is the shot that was landed the one that you want to publish? There’s a lot to take into consideration when making that decision. Body position, board position, the look on the rider’s face, temporary shadows, temporary highlights, scenery obstructions, background, and a whole lot more. Shots like this, with a ton of different attempts, and a ton of different exposures, lead to a ton of different variables and potential photos. There’s always that one that was landed, but that one isn’t always the best image. Sometimes the decision is very clear. Other times, it’s far from it.
I’ve wasted countless hours in front of this window; and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
I wanted to initiate my posts to this new site with this, my latest photo of somebody riding. This makes sense to me because I want this site to serve, not only as a replacement for my previous artist profile page, but also as a continuation of it. Therefore, it makes sense to start right where I left off. Regardless of continuity however, I probably would have chosen this photo anyway.
Skateboarding is a very physical activity for the person on the board, and is a very visual activity for spectators. Each trick serves as an individually unique form of physical art, that varies from performance to performance, and realistically only lasts for no more than a fraction of a second. As I have grown, both as a skateboarder myself, and as a photographer, I have come to appreciate creative and quirky tricks such as this, as opposed to what would traditionally be considered difficult or good. This is because something altogether unique generally carries a more visually pleasing aesthetic than something that everybody else is also trying to do. Whether this is because I haven’t seen this often, or ever, or whether it’s because tricks like this require more of a developed and personal style, I can’t say. I can say, however, that the right rider can make even something as simple as an ollie, look incredible.
That is something I love about skateboarding.