1.20.2014

anthony brkovic, wallie blunt to fakie

i was digging through skate photos i shot lastnight and came across one of my all time favorites...

this is anthony brkovic doing a wallie blunt to fakie at the DTP in racine WI.  june 10th of 2007, on a canon 40d.  its starting to rain but of course he doesnt care.  i still want to make a huge print someday.  heres why i love this photo...

the structure of the composition is fully realized, engaging and balanced, with no space of the frame unaccounted for.  that is often a difficult thing to pull of in a skate photo.  a lot of times sacrifices are made but in this instance everything worked out.  all the lines leading the eye around and the subjects feel like where they belong.  and its kind of unassuming at first, not forced perspective like a lot of skate photos can be.  as a photographer i cant take full credit - this is how the world already looks - i just had to be here so anthony was against the sky in that little sky window of skatepark and trees.  the park was pretty empty that day, drizzling on and off.  lake michigan in all its understated glory barely distinguishes itself visually from the sky in the distance.  i loved skating next to the lake.  we were lucky to grow up there.  epic gnat clouds, cold winds, goose poop bomb campaigns and all kinds of weird hooligan activity added to the ambiance of the repurposed tennis court.  twan's girlfriend rita is reading a book in what looks like the crotch of a tree.  i did not direct her to do this.  there is, i must insist, a natural order to the world and rita in the tree V is a prime example of what happens if you are perceptive and lucky, and put your own agendas lower on the priority list.  also the angle of anthonys leg opposing the angle of the bank, and the sweeping line of the qp following into the tree on the right - these are rare treats.

i tried a tighter version vertically but as always, more [properly arranged] context wins...
alternate composition

i also did a 35mm fisheye version from the deck...
35mm

i like that these 3 variations are a clear example of the kind of options skateboard photography forces you to negotiate.  they are 3 completely different photos.

the palette of the photo is almost dreamlike.  dull color, soft light, nothing jarring.  easy blues and earth tones again understate the sheer force and brutality of this particular skateboarding move - anthony smashing into the short vertical wall on his 60mm marshmallows, slapping into a quick blunt stall and then lofting it back to fakie, slamming back down on the decade old skatelite - you have to be a skater to understand what any of that means but god damn, its just a brutish move rendered in such a gentle way.  that is maybe part of the power of photography i cant resist.

anthony rules.  i first saw him when i was just getting into skating, and he scared the piss out of me.  i think he had a safety pin in his eyebrow, and had an intimidating swagger through the halls of mckinley middle school.  he is reckless on a board - fast, powerful, daring.  that always got me pumped to shred hard.  his bag of tricks is varied - a creative mix of barging and technical dancing.  often he would shout encouragement, usually funny shit like "SOCCER RIOT!" in a scottish accent.  or "YOU CAN DOOOO IT!!!"  ramps, skateboards, and trees are all usually suffering while he skates. 

theres a fill flash on the deck of the ramp and it is somehow metered perfectly so that you dont even notice the light is partly artificial - this is the kind of lighting i would strive for in all skate photos hence forth.  also the timing worked out - blunt fakies can be hard to shoot - everyone does em differently and i think i only shot this 3 times from this angle before he got a clean landing and moved onto the next thing.  its ideal - board vertical, feet glued in - bresson's decicive moment exercised a century after that kid hopped over a puddle, in fresh and unfathomable conditions...

theres plenty more to be said about skating, anthony, photography and an entire thesis on the virtues of making sure all the cars are in the right place, but i think you should just be left to stare at this photo and try to experience the all too rare pleasure of something working out just right.  thanks for scoping it.