Exposed: David ‘Styley’ Steel

styley crailtap pic si trueLondon’s skateboard scene is vast but also has many hotspots that are far from being under rocks. If you look West to the likes of Harrow, you will find a multitude of talent on display and some wonderful characters behind the action there too.

This suburban area and London Borough is the home of Death Skateboards, the hosts of the original H-Boyz and the birthplace of many skate industry players that grew up carving the bollocks of one of London’s most historic skateparks. To this very day Harrow comes rich in history and has also spawned one of our favourite sons in David ‘Styley’ Steel.

It’s been seven years since we have featured Styley’s photography. In that time, he moved to Japan and then returned to work with Form Distribution, the dudes who bring the UK Girl and Chocolate Skateboards. As the year turned, David and his missus flew back to Yokohama-shi in Japan for another spell out there so we decided to Expose what’s been in his lens over the years and discuss the tales behind ten of his favourite photos. His work is beautiful, his face is probably smiling as he reads this very text and it’s a pleasure to know such a great fella. With that in mind enjoy his top ten.

Left: Styley crailtap’s some rough ‘crete. Photo by Si True.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank, London.

Unsocial hours are always a part of photographing skateboarding. This was no exception. Nick Zorlac gave me a call with a mission to get a shot on the old section of South Bank. It had a massive wooden builders wall around it as they were demolishing it so the only way to get a shot on it was about one in the morning. Once in though we were able to use the builders wood to create a bridge over a massive hole they had dug which lay in Nick’s line and I found a massive ladder to climb up to get the shot.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Trips are always the advantage of working for a magazine. This spot was sick even though surrounded by used needles. No one really had anything for it though but just as we were about to leave John started playing about with switch ollies. The trip was amazing, just hanging out and skating sick spots with good friends and to come away with this shot made lying on syringe infested pavements worth it.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Junichi Arahata, Switch BS Tailslide, Tokyo. Japan.

When I first moved to Japan I didn’t really know anyone but word got around that a foreigner (me!) was in town that took photos. Koji who owned Lesque Skateboards called me up and asked me to come take some shots with them. So the next day I turn up at his house. He greeted me then advised me to lay on the sofa to get some sleep. It was only 6pm. He told me that we’d be skating through the night as there was less security. He was right and we hit a tonne of spots. This was shot at about 4am just as dawn was breaking and the cops were waking up. One even turned up to bust us just as we were packing up! Five hours later I was in my school teaching English to kids with the worst red eye ever.

Junichi Arahata, Switch BS Tailslide

Horsey. Wallie Japan Grab, London.

So, posting this on my instagram is how Zac invited me to be a part of this article. I do remember we went to this spot to shoot a different trick with a different skater but Horsey started playing around with this wallie grab. I usually have an idea of how I want to shoot a shot but I always get more and more stoked the closer I get and start twisting to the camera to come up with a sick angle. The fish eye then changes it into something else that I hadn’t thought of.

Kevin McKeon. Bs Crail slide, Harrow, London.

FILM SUCKS! Seriously, digital made taking photos so much easier and enjoyable. Here is Kevin probably doing this trick for the 20th time. Not because he was bailing, no he was sticking every try- but due to my paranoia that I hadn’t got the shot as I was shooting on shitty film and couldn’t check it. I shot a whole roll of this (that’s 36 shots to those who don’t know what a roll of film is!) and most of them were useable with pretty much identical shots on each. Sorry Kev for making you do it repeatedly.

kevin mckeon bs crail

John Lindsay, thread the needle to Mayday, Yokohama, Japan.

One of my favourite things of being a photographer is just stoking friends who would not normally get a photo taken. John skated sick and he knew of this crazy spot with these blue bars around it with gaps that were just about wide enough to get through. I showed him a couple of shots of the angle I liked thanks to digital, and this just really motivated him to get the trick in the bag.

john lindsay_009_mayday yokohama photo styley

Lee. Wallie, Barcelona.

Lee just happened to be staying in the same shit hostel as us and came and tagged along with us one day. He knew of this spot pictured that he had found once during a massive skate through the city suburbs so to find it we literally had to follow his previous routes footsteps. This was back in the day when I didn’t have a roller camera bag so pushing through the streets with a 50lb bag on a hot evening was killer, but to end it with this wallie was worth it. If you’re starting photography now, invest in a roller bag and save your back!

Lee wallie 2

Zarosh, fs noseblunt slide, Shirahata. Japan.

I grew up reading Transworld and R.A.D mags during the late 80’s to 90’s getting brainwashed by how skateboard photos should look. One rule always seemed to apply- green wheels really close to the fish eye. Stoked on the opportunity to keep the tradition going. Thanks Zarosh.

zarosh noseblunt slide

Santa Cates, fs grind, Harrow pool.

Dan is always full of ideas and somehow I got roped into this one! We headed to the park at about 11pm and started to paint through the night. We had to allow the paint to dry before skating it. So during the day Horsey and Steak kept an eye on it so no one entered the pool. Then that night I met back up with Dan to shoot the long-boarded fs grind. Once shot, Dan insisted on then painting over the snowman bits in white so that no one could shoot the same shot. This was the most amount of work for a photo I’ve ever done but definitely one of my favourites and I’ll never get over the buzz of seeing my photos as covers up in the magazine racks in skate shops.

Vivien Feil, BS 180 over fence, Japan.

Vivien came and visited Japan a few times just as he was setting up Magenta Skateboards. In between discussions of why the French are the superior race and explaining why spending his life savings at the arcade playing Street Fighter he would bust out the sickest tricks with the best style. If you look carefully in the bottom right corner of the photo you can see mount Fuji’s silhouette.

If you liked this, follow your nose to Rich West‘s Exposed feature.

Exposed: Richard West

The South Coast has always produced a variety of interesting degenerates within the skateboard scene. Some say that it must be the sea air that assists the extraordinary to achieve such valuable creativity, or maybe there’s some sort of phytogenetic seed that is carried through each generation that stimulates the next batch of skateboarders to be as extrovert as the last.

Brighton’s scene is full of said personalities, so who better to discuss them with other than local skate photographer Richard West. Rich is 24, an email buddy of Beyonce’s and would tell you himself that he is one of life’s ‘failed skateboarders’. Somehow, Rich was nominated to capture Brighton’s vibrant skateboard scene because he loves taking photographs, and he does it very well.

“I started shooting photos at about the age of 19 but I have no idea how I got sucked into it. Something made me want to start though, so I spent a few years studying at Brighton, which was rad. I guess it was a standard situation where I didn’t do enough work, even though and I now wished I had, but that’s hindsight for you.”

Most photographers would admit to waking up daily with a desire to push forward. Rich is no different. There’s always another spot to find, and even a new angle on an old one too.

“If I was to describe my style of shooting I would say OTT, verging on obsessive compulsive. If I see something that I feel is wrong, I will go insane. I won’t show anyone anything until I feel it’s to a standard where I feel it might be OK for the human eye to see. Usually it isn’t, but sometimes it’s borderline.”

Is this behaviour what makes skateboarding exciting though? Is it natural for us to aspire to new levels of creativity? Of course it is. The best skateboard photographers out there all face this outlook. Striving to return from a trip knowing that the goods could arrive once soaked in water to swell the gelatin layer.

Thesedays, once the card is inserted into the computer and the download bar reachs completion, the goods are there to see much faster than yesteryear. Rich currently shoots on a Nikon D700. His flash setup “looks like something from a 90s skate video and it’s all tucked into a bag that looks like i’m going on holiday everytime I go out! I keep forcing myself to shoot film so I recently bought a Pentax 6×7. It’s a rad camera but a bit of a nightmare to take around.”

Speaking about the snappers that have inspired this notion of perfection, Rich believes there are actually: “far, far, far too many amazing skateboarding photographers out there! Far too many!” But the names that are mentioned include the work of Alex Burrell, Sam Muller, Brian Gaberman, Lex Kembery, Scott Pommier, Percy Dean, Wig and Rich Gilligan, to name a few. “They are all amazing, especially for their love and continual persistence to shoot film- something I wish I did a lot more.” And as the wind blows, Brighton’s finest will not make any plans and roll with the program. He certainly will not feel like a failure if they don’t work out.

Enjoy the view through Richard West’s lens in our first of many Exposed features we have lined up, where skateboard photography or film are explained by those in and around the action.

mattbluntnew_richardwest

“This spot is notorious to Brighton. It’s one of the only hubba’s around the south and it’s also one of the worst things to skate. As soon as you and your board connect with its crusty haggard edge, you are almost automatically thrown straight to the floor like a sack of organs. You will be able to see this clip in an up and coming Andy Evans video which is sure to be filled with skateboarding puns and terrible 80s music.”

steviethompsonhurricane_richardwest

“Stevie Thompson officially makes the best shapes around! This Hurricane was a shot from a recent trip to Bristol and after seeing the DIY spot in footage we had to give it a go! I can’t describe how hard it was to skate! To be honest, I didn’t even bother trying, but Stevie came through. Not bad for a 37 year old! Haha!”

ewenindy_richardwest

“This is one of the best ramps in the world (or far from it). This was shot at a place called Crowhurst. A small, pointless, uncounted-for village in the middle of nowhere, that is graced with a 11 foot rusty vert ramp bowl thing. It’s owned by a metal worker who built it for a local BMX rider that he noticed, who needed a place to ride many moons ago. It’s made from a number of rusty steel sheets of metal that have now started to come up. Just under the coping, the ramp has started to corrode away, leaving a nice hole that you have to avoid of risk falling to your rusty death! If for some reason you are in the area. you must check this thing out! It’s like nothing you will ever skate, but don’t go there on a Sunday as you will be shouted at. Oh and this is Ewen doing a trick, but who cares.”

jakstale_richardwest

“I recently went on a trip to Berlin with the Drawing Boards lot and it was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. Living in a gypsy wagon surrounded by hippies is essentially my worst nightmare. That said, it was a really good trip with many a trick landed. This is Jak Tonge. Watch out for the new video ‘Draw the Line’ this December, it’s sure to be good!”

mattbscrail_photo_by_richardwest

“Matt Ransom is one of the biggest hippies I know. I was fed up with seeing fisheye shots of Shoreham skatepark. Yes, I know anyone who is reading this that knows me will think what a hypocrite, as I am a fisheye fiend, but that’s not the point. This was my attempt to do something different, that is actually, not that different.”

ewen5050_richardwest

“Interesting story with this. We visited a spot before this just down the road. We had previously been warned that day of the sketchiness of the area but Ewen assured me it would be find. On arrival we took ourselves down to the spot and had a little look. Not even setting foot on out boards we hear a loud “YOU MUST BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!” We look aside to see a huge dude coming towards us squaring up to Ewen. He obviously didn’t like skateboarders, so we left. Ewen did the 5050 in about 4 goes. He’s pretty good.”

snellingsweeper_richardwest

“Contradicting what I said earlier, I’m a sucker for coping fisheye photos! Haha! Well to be honest, I hate them, but hanging out with people like Craig and Jake you pretty much won’t ever be able to escape them. They are far too consumed by 80s skating which is funny and also sometimes really annoying.”

ewenbsollie_photo_richardwest

“I hate Ewen, but he does have some good tricks. Not bad for a cowboy.”

ewenollie_photo_by_richardwest

“Same here!”

patjamming_photo_by_richardwest

“Polejams are one of the best things to skate and a rare treat! Pat is also sick at skating even if half the time he doesn’t know what’s actually going on in front of him.”

jamalfin_photo_by_richardwest

“Jamie is an interesting dude. You can never tell where he is going to be the next day. He has a Grubb’s burger tattooed to his leg in the hope they would give him free burgers for life. Sadly they did not.”

hastings22222_photo_by_richardwest

“Joe Sandand, AKA Hastings off the forum (sorry for naming you out) is a horrible person. Not really, but he does look like the lost member of Right Said Fred! This photo was shot not too long ago, at a legendary spot called Bottle Alley, shown on ‘Britain’s Toughest Seaside Towns’. It’s a horrible place that smells of piss, filled with all sorts of nasty Hastings characters throughout the day selling drugs and having sex on the steps (no joke). It’s a rad spot though and well worth a visit!”

steviedog2_photo_by_richardwest

“More from Stevie Thompson. He is always rad to shoot. His knowledge of skateboarding is far beyond anything that any skateboarder could ever dream of too and that. All you need to do is give him a can of cider and stick him in Stockwell and you will see just how competent he is on his skateboard. He’s also a violent drunk. Haha!”

zakswitchollie_photo_by_richardwest

“Finally, Zak (Isaac Miller) is sick at skating and it’s a rare sight to see him out of the Level haha! When he skates, he waits for no one and just goes for it straight away. It’s kind of the situation where you either get it or you don’t, because he would have probably nailed it in the first 5 attempts. Switch ollie.”

DIY – A book by Richard Gilligan

If you have been following the fantastic work from Irish photographer Richard Gilligan over the years you would be familiar with his hands-on approach to shooting skateboarding. This month, a French publisher has released his new book from work that been archived for the last 4 years titled DIY, a collection of photographs of home-made skateparks throughout Europe and the US which explores the landscape and people that build and inhabit these hidden spaces.

His shots capture the hard work and endless energy that skateboarders put into a DIY project and the feeling that we all collectively receive from the end result, free from the constraints of societal rules.

Grab this hard cover book made up of 70 pages for your lounge today for €44 via 1980 Editions.

diy_richardgilligan

Paddy’s Day Photo Feast with Jerome Loughran

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general. To celebrate this special day here this year, we decided to treat you to a feast of culture seen through the lens of Irish skateboard photographer and Shiner’s main man in the trenches, Jerome Loughran.

JL: Growing up in Northern Ireland and then later re-rooting myself to Wales allowed me to meet people along the journey that have left an impression. During that time, I have never forgotten those that helped me shape who I am today, so I could have easily added another 20 photos in this feature. These 5 photos are just some of the amazing skateboarders that made an impact on this man behind the lens. Enjoy.

jay_dords_by_jerome_loughran

Only fitting that any St.Patrick’s day photo article would be kicked off by none other than Jay Dords. Dords is the guy has held the scene together in Ireland together for years. He is a true skate legend. He’s one of those rare skateboarders who has not only kept the scene going in the dark days, but he’s never seen a penny from all his hard work and crazy ideas either. You know what though? It never breaks that big smile on his face! This photo was shot after a weekend of Jay building this DIY block in Derry, Northern Ireland. Jay built it, consumed some Harp lager and then proceeded to shred it. What is more Irish that Thin Lizzy and Harp Lager? (besides the stereotypes!!) Dords influenced me to get out there and get involved, and now all those years of him asking me questions about f-stops has unleashed a mean photographer in him too. Watch that space.

mark_munson_crail_by_jerome_loughran

This is Mark Munson. Meeting Munson is like meeting a brick wall at 50mph, you won’t forget it! The man knows what’s what and won’t ever be afraid to tell you so! I’ve learnt so much from this guy over the years. His team management skills are basically made up of “stop crying and do it you wanker!” His approach usually works as well! I’ve been on many rad trips with Mark and would always be glad to have him in the van or at the park shouting abuse at me. There’s a slight Irish link in this photo as it was shot in Greystones, just outside of Dublin.

marc_churchill_ollie_by_jerome_loughran

Less of an Irish link here but I went on a skate trip to Ireland with Marc Churchill once so hopefully that counts! Everyone knows Marc. If you don’t, where have you been hiding?! Weird that that the guy I used to watch on Channel 5’s Rad TV show is now the guy that constantly calls me and keeps me in stitches with one of his many comedy personas. Marc is constant entertainment and also knows how to do a good sticker job! If I had to only shoot with one guy for the rest of my life it would be Marc, basically because it’s like shooting with 12 different guys! This photo was shot in Oregon. If you have not seen the Punch An Eagle In Flight tour edit yet, do it.

grim_chepstow_by_jerome_loughran

For those that don’t know this guy, this is Darran ‘Grim’ Ward skating the Chepstow park. Grim is best known for running Freestyle Skateshop in Newport, Wales. Grim has been my landlord and housemate for nearly 10 years and I have been through so much with this guy, it’s unreal. This photo should have seen light of day much sooner, as he has always had my back and gets hyped on my photos, so this should stoke him out. Not only is he the biggest and gnarliest vegan I have ever met, he is officially the only person I know that has punched himself out in anger at leaving the house without his wallet! He was driving at the time and I was in the passenger seat!

caradog_emanuel_by_jerome_loughran

This is a photo of Caradog Emanuel with an ollie up and out to crooks. He is another Welsh skater that I have had the pleasure of traveling with over the years. ‘Dog’ is like Churchill- a stand up comedian. Put the two of them together and you have an ultimate double act! Caradog has a fresh approach to skateboarding, something that sets him apart from others. If you haven’t seen his section in Kill City’s Rookies video yet then, damn, get yourself a copy and break open a Guinness!

Phil Evans launches new Super 8 film Format Perspective

formatperspectiveIrish film maker Phil Evans mailed us this morning to tell us that he is back this year with a new film a new Super 8 project titled Format Perspective. Following the wonderful documentary The Scrum Tilly Lush Evans returns with focus now on skate photography covering the passions and sessions of skate photographers in different countries.

The list of snappers that will be documented include Nils Svensson from Malmö, Stuart Robinson in Belfast, Alex Irvine in London, Dublin’s Richard Gilligan, Bertrand Trichet in Barcelona/Tokyo and Sergej Vutuc from Heilbronn in Germany. Look out for it this summer and go to www.formatperspective.com for more info.