Discover more from Process by Wesley Verhoeve
Process 076 ☼ Documenting Skate Culture in Mexico City
GIVEAWAY: 4 different rolls of new RETO film
In this week’s letter I share an impression of one day spent at the beautiful Skate Park Constituyentes in Mexico City.
This week’s PROCESS GIVEAWAY is a set of four brand new and very fun types of film rolls released by RETO and made available by BuyMoreFilm.
Skate Culture x Photography
When I travel to a new city and have some extra time to shoot, the first thing I do is see if there might be a skate park nearby. Skate culture and visual culture are so connectected and have circled around each other creating new forms of photography and narratives around the sport.
Even in countries where street photography is challenging for whatever reason as long as I can find a skate park I know there will be interesting creative people around who don’t mind having their photo taken. I’ve even streetcast long-time collaborators from my interactions in skate parks.
Skating In Mexico City
Mexico City has one of the biggest and most beautiful skate parks I’ve had the chance to visit. Skate Park Constituyentes was renovated not so long around along with the surrounding area and has a capacity for up to 700 skaters. It has a street skateboarding zone, 8 platforms, ramps, stairs and other features for slides and grinds, and two large bowls for tricks. I was especially excited about the bowls from a photo point of view.
The reason that the skate community is one of my favorites to document is because they’re artists and athletes at the same time. There is movement, emotion, joy, pain, encouragement, and so much more, and all across a variety of ages. This particular day at Skate Park Constituyentes I noticed a younger skater who was taking his time carefully exploring his first steps in the bowl. He’d stand around and watch the older skaters and I could see him working up the courage to try it out for himself.
His facial expressions were nuanced undulating between excitement and hope. He was tentative, a bit shy, but quietly determined. Sometimes he’d lower himself into the bowl and just feel out what it was like to skate inside of it without the drop.
He was patient and respectful, waiting for the more experienced skaters to give him time and as the day moved on he started to give it a proper go. I chose to photograph him as an isolated figure because he stood out from the pack, quietly.
As time went on he got himself together and gave it a go. He was so focused I decided to shoot against the light so as to turn him into a silhouette, a fully self-contained figure bravely trying new things without thinking of the world around him or who might be watching. I played with lens flares to imagine his internal excitement.
As he got more confident the more experienced skaters and bmx riders decided to he could handle them being in the bowl at the same time and I loved the shadows they created on the unfinished concrete.
The architectual beauty of the skate park itself and objects like wheels and spokes started working their way into how I was framing the action now from a more detached point of view. At times I would create a frame inside of a frame, like below.
Where I usually would focus on the emotion and facial expressions of the skaters, this day was different with a much tighter focus on the environment and the movements.
At the very end I took that concept to the extreme with this image which is more impressionist than it is documentarian.
If you know skaters that might enjoy this issue of Process, please share it with them.
These are just a few images from a much larger set which you can see in full over at Wesley.co. In case you missed last week’s issue I launched my new portfolio website which include my editorial portraits, travel work, corporate photography, and also the reportage & photojournalism section this skate park set is part of.
Housekeeping: Introducing Vangelis
For the past 75 issues Process has been a one-man show with me handling everything from writing, to managing partnerships and giveaways, and everything else.
Today I’m excited to introduce new team member Vangelis. With his help I’ll be able to focus more on the writing and photography. In his role as editorial assistant he’ll help keep me on schedule so that each issue comes out on time. Welcome, Vangelis!
Now a little bit about Vangelis, in his own words including some favorites.
Hi everyone, my name is Evangelos Michelinakis but my friends call me Vangelis. I’m based in Lyon but am originally from Thessaloniki in Greece and have lived in four countries the past 10 years.
I came across Process a few months ago and subscribed right away because I loved how it was much more about substance than only showing beautiful images.
My professional background is in digital communications and I recently joined Wesley to help him manage the editorial calendar of Process so he can focus on creating work and writing about it. I’ll also work on new ways to bring more readers and collaborators into the Process world.
My favorite camera is my Olympus OM1. I’ve had fancier and more trendy cameras but I take my best images with my trusty Olympus. It’s all about chemistry! :)
My current favorite photo book is Face Time: A History of the Photographic Portrait by Phillip Prodger. I love taking portraits and this is the book that inspires me most.
I look forward to being a part of the Process community!
That’s it for this week!
Next week: I will talk about some of my biggest commercial client shoots and how that kind of photography work differs from my editorial work.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others.
This week’s prize is a pack of Reto film rolls courtesy of BuyMoreFilm. The winner will receive one roll each of RETO Amber D100 Daylight (see below for example shot), Amber T200 Tungsten, Amber T800 Tungsten, and Amber D400 Daylight film.
To enter this Giveaway visit the Process Flip page and participate in the Q&A.
This week I am hosting a Q&A. Upload a video with one question you’d like to ask me about photography. I will review and reply to all your questions. Don't be afraid to ask anything you want.
Questions can be anything from my photography, gear, creative choices, photo book making, influences, business aspects of being a photographer, technical things. Just be yourself, curious and connect with our Process community.
ENTER THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY HERE before 11pm EST on October 8th.
The winner will be randomly drawn. This giveaway is for Process subscribers only.
Shout out to the team over at Flip for partnering with Process and making this possible.
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