BANK Vol 1 is the realisation of a personal dream: to make a skate video. I’ve always been drawn to filming skating and have rarely had an interest in filming anything else. I did, however, film my football club play a match recently. It was surprisingly fun to film and edit, made more enjoyable because I knew the people playing and what ‘moves’ constituted the highlights.
Filming skaters work on moves is so personal. The relationships you share and develop with the subjects can expand everything you think or feel about that person. I love that you can experience and witness how committed to this art your close friends are – see what they are about. When they express ideas, excitedly pick spots and architecture to move across or down, my pulse races too. Two sets of imaginations combine in this moment. I love that feeling of creativity. This rare process serves some of our deepest and most personal urges: the rigours of street skating in London, willingly taking risks and inching towards the right amount of courage. The payoff for one’s character, spirit or soul is obvious. Of course, it isn’t certain that you get the desired ‘payoff’ after a rough fall and subsequent recuperation period. Even then, that period of reflection helps to establish or realign goals within skating or within life.
Our willingness to enter these challenging situations is repetitive and represents a ‘vision’. The ‘vision’ seems to be something that adds to the collective integrity of skating. Subsequently, new ideas are articulated and performed, expanding the boundaries of form and technique. Despite the obvious difficulties and risks, on the other side of the world the very same process occurs. Although skating is relatively small scale, there is a depth of inspiring pieces of skate video art from around the world. Single parts or full length videos reveal new environments and scenes, inspiring and increasing the feeling of a collective movement within our culture. Whether the style being showcased is 'Aggressive', 'Big wheel', 'Creative' or 'Minimal', it feels as if new things are always emerging to ignite our imaginations.
Once the skater and filmer establish some common ground, their visions can intertwine and create meaning on numerous levels; on a personal level, I love to spend time with my friends and bond with them. Sharing in a time consuming and potentially dangerous vision that has little monetary value indicates a totally different motivation. It’s no secret that the guys who appear in BANK Vol 1 love skating; I see these dudes demonstrate more than love. The viewer is to be ‘entertained’ but I can fall in love with skating again and again given the right video part. I feel like I have the right people around me to create video pieces to fall in love with.
Working on this flick has been a trip. I have loved seeing my friends unpick the nooks and crannies of the city. They are a credit to the skate culture at large. Every moment spent collaborating on skate moves has been incredible. Not only have these moments been captured on video, but imortalised in stills. South West London’s legendary skater and closest ally Gareth Morton has honed his craft of skate photography over the past 8 years. Comparing results post trick is such a thrill. Gareth loves to encapsulate these exciting moments. He feels strongly about helping his friends express their creative visions too. It’s the sort of guy he is, a skate nerd with an insatiable appetite to do nice things for his friends.
Gareth observes some of the moments ‘mid line’ where there might be opportunities to capture images otherwise blurred in motion. His photos have added a pristine perspective on the form of our friends. Gone are the days of mainstream print media in skating. Hours have been spent studying front and back covers, centre folds and posters. Despite the absence of a mainstream print magazine, Gareth delivers images fitting of any of the seminal publications. I am grateful he finds such joy in taking photographs of our friends in their prime moments. On this occasion Gareth’s delivered photographs that accompany the moves seen in BANK Vol 1. My hope is that the relationship between photo and video can continue to evolve and do our friends the justice they deserve.
Bank Vol 1 can be downloaded here