Crash Course in Skate Photography Chapter 1

Crash Course in Brain Surgery Skate Photography.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

Chapter 1 – The Buttshot

It is and always shall be a mystery how the two industries that dwell the most on the topos of the buttshot place such different value on this shared element. I am referring, of course, in case any reader might be wondering, to the pornographic industry and to the skateboarding industry. They are neighbouring enterprises, both making the most of California’s sunny weather, and both image-driven, centred on photography and video, and sharing a common passion for heroes and heroines that somehow never seem scared to get hurt for the sake of the art. However, when it comes to the value of the buttshot, the two disagree wholeheartedly.

While our friends that make the nudies esteem the buttshot highly and seem to consider it an indispensable building block of their trade, furnishing their viewers with copious instances of said shot, in many imaginative variations, skate photographers, on the other hand, to quote the philosopher: “detest it like a sickness”. They don’t like big butts and they cannot lie, they don’t consider and do not wish others to consider skaters to be the butthole surfers, they can’t find the boogie in your butt, and so on and so fifth.

It could be proposed, as way of an explanation, that this unwavering hatred of the buttshot on the part of skate photographers has something to do with identity and authorship. Meaning that photographers, being good, kind-hearted people, wish to make sure the viewer identifies and gives due credit to the skater in the photo for pulling off whatever trick the caption informs us is being pulled off (the issue of photos and captions will be discussed in a coming chapter). This being so, unless for some reason the skater in question is in possession of a world-famous ass, the photographer is bound to show us his ugly mug.

It could be further stated that the skater’s facial expression may serve as an important clue for reading the image. Then again, it could also be argued, in the opposite direction, that the skater’s anonimity will help turn the viewer’s attention towards shapes and lines, making it seem like the skater and the spot are part of the same world, made out of the same stuff, much like what happens in the picture above. All of this and much more could probably be argued, but I’m afraid that could mean imbuing this little essay with something that might resemble philosophical interest or some kind of relevance and that, my friends, is not what we are aiming for over here on the internets. So till the next chapter, keep clicking that tail around, whatever that might mean...

The anonymous skater in the photo is called Steven Bumann. Photo by Pascal Lieleg, taken from his article on “The Lankow Locals”, which you can read here. Full interview with Pascal coming soon.

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