Sunday, October 7, 2012

Just a Walk in the Park - Wilson Park?

Today was my second time for a photo assignment. The first was Towle Theater to exhibit a theme for the play "Leaving Iowa". This second was for Rachel who asked me to photograph some skateboarders. This was not a simple walk in the park, for it was Wilson Park. The best skateboard park in Chicago. Perhaps the best in the Midwest.

I am not a skateboarder. Tried in the late '60's as a kid, liked it, but there was nowhere to go. Just up and down the street. At that time, a bicycle seemed to make more sense, because at least you went up and down the street fast.

Today is different, and in a good way.  Skaters have a place to go have fun.  They
 are learning, problem solving, improving, willing to take the fall in order to learn, and they learn to not give up. This is life. They have found focus.  Sort of an intense life crash course. This is something they can take outside the skate park, to the world, and reuse.

The above photo is just one of many spectacular moves these skaters were making.  Being my first time photographing skateboarding, I had to find my technique fast.  Here are some more photos for you to enjoy . . .

Yes, I know, I am not suppose to photograph the "back side" of skaters.  At this early point in skate photography, I had to get use to where I could stand, and I really wanted the skaters to do their own thing.  I did not want to direct them.  So, you take what you can get . . . for now . . .

As the photo above shows, I think this is like photography.  You keep your camera with you, your finger on the shutter, for you never know when the opportunity comes.  Seems like the same with skaters.  Keep you foot on the board, you never know when . . .

Skateboard Ninjas at their best. It was obvious to me, you use your entire body when skating. Given the tricks, you need to get your body up in the air and balanced, if you want to land it. Watching these guys was really cool, like gymnasts, swimmers, ninjas, all rolled into one.

And check this out. The above two photos were different runs, yet the position appears almost identical. Perfection!

No matter the shot, even at the end of a run, the physics involved to keep your feet planted and not your face is cool.  The above photo is at the end of the run in the bowl.

The above three photos were different runs, to allow me to photograph. Not much difference in execution . . . a well practiced skater. The next photo I was able to shoot right after the launch. Though a bit blurred, it still shows the intensity of the trick.

 Wipe out . . . 

Talk about a photo making it look effortless, check out this next one.  Nothing at all effortless about it.

Okay, fish bowl time . . . something for Rachel.  Rachel wanted a theme for the photos, so she chose to mix the fast city urban with the calm, outside the city life, of a saunter day fishing.  So we have the fishy's in the bowl, and Rachel fishing . . .

And like most school of fish, they do not take the bait, and go off on their own . . . however . . . pretty cool if you ask me . . .

Sort of reminds me of Pink Floyd, ". . . two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year . . ."

If you look close, you will see some photographs have Rachel focused while the speedsters (fish) swim by. However, I do like the affect of the fish (the speedsters) in focus because who's reality is it anyway????  And the fact, I screwed up and did not have my camera set right . . . lol

And of course, some of the fish are really hams . . . you gotta love it . . .

Now, back to doing what they do best . . .

Again, I know, bad position to photograph.  I am learning.  However, still cool . . .

And, sometimes traffic control does not work well.  When you see someone committed to a trick, you back off as quick as you can, like in the next two photos.

Somewhat amateurish on my photography, however it was my first time photographing an action sport, and it was fun.

There is a broad age range at this skate park. Some have been doing it a while, some new. Like any passion, one where you learn, improve, make new, there is never an end. It is in your blood. It is your journey. 

We seem to go back to that point of passion, whether skateboarding or photography, to live and understand. Does it always come out right? No. Do you always learn? Sometimes. However, it is always about the experience. Doing something. Creating change within yourself and all that connects around you. When you can, you multiply that same energy through other people, other skateboarders, other photographers, until you become a society of people with the same passion. This is not a click. I believe anyone who has a passion wants to, and does, maintain their individuality, their uniqueness. As I alluded to in another blog, once you give in to streamlining or mainstream, which destroys our uniqueness, we then lose.

I do hear people say that skate parks help keep kids off the street.  I would agree.  After today's experience, I would like to say, skate parks are a respect to artists.  Artists who skate.  This gives them the canvas to paint their image.  To sculpt their perfection.  To take a snapshot of their life for when they passionately enjoyed life.  This is their center for being.  So I believe we need to encourage, and support, the best way we can.

So, did I get hit with skateboards today?  Yes.  Did I wipe out going down a ramp?  Yes, while walking. Did I have fun?  He** yes.  I hope they invite me back!!!!!

Thank you Rachel for setting this up.  Thank you Dylan and TDS for enjoying what you do.  And most of all, thanks to the many skaters who allowed me to interfere with their day.  I hope I made it a fun one for them.

Wilson Skateboard Park
700 W. Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(between N. Simmonds Dr. and N. Lakeshore Dr.)


mary said...

thrilled to see this today - always amazed at the skateboarder's skill - thanks so much for portraying these folks in action - wonderful photogaphy - like 'you are there'

Wesley Bushby said...

It was very cool to photograph, Mary. I do hope they invite me back to photograph them again. I am always wanting to do better. These guys are talented.