Street Skateboarding and Street Photography – brothers from a different mother

What do street skateboarding and street photography have in common? Quite a lot of things. I love both for the same reasons. Beside you get to know great people fairly easily with these two activities, there is much more important similarity. In the act of using the scenery, be it urban architecture that was not meant to be skated, or ordinary scenes of daily live that were not meant to be photographed in an interesting way, you take something ordinary and try to work it in order to push things to the next level, try making it something special. The following photograph is taken while roaming the streets of Istanbul with a photographer I highly admire. So Maciej Dakowicz and me are seeing this potentially great opportunity: a truck, photographed from the right angle seemingly stuck in mid air. What a sight! Of course that’s not enough, there has to be something else going on in the picture.

Working a spot, sometimes you roll away unsuccessfully.

We both worked the spot a little. There’s this saying that a photo is supposed to be mire interesting than the thing you photograph. Tough call for the picture of a flying truck to be more interesting than this thing on its own. We both try applying our style to the spot. In my case, without success. At some point, you just feel that it does not make sense to keep on pushing. Same is true for street skateboarding. You roll around, have some spots you know very well and you go there for warming up. There’s nothing more exciting than finding a potentially great spot to skate. In this case, I was out with a pro, who’s skill level is much above mine. Skaters as well as street photographers divide in two categories, one of them are the soulful ones. Just like a pro skater working a spot with an amateur, Maciej gives advice. Adjust this and that a little. Have you seen this opportunity? And the sentence “Oh look at this, you should work this!” “You sure? You spotted it first.” “Yes, go for it.” can be heard between soul skaters and I guess what we can describe as soul photographers.


Working a spot, sometimes you roll away unsuccessfully. That’s how it feels. (Photo credits: Maciej Dakowicz)

Thinking about the similarities, there’s much more that comes to my mind. I won’t bother you with much more of these thoughts, except that in both street skateboarding and street photography, working a spot, sometimes you roll away unsuccessfully. The crucial thing is to know whether to keep on working the situation a little more or if you can use your time in a better way at another spot. Perhaps there’s an amazing character just around the corner walking through even more amazing light. Maximizing your chances of success is something that I am not too good at yet, but Maciej helped me advance especially in this field I would say.

I totally enjoyed being with him for his workshop in Istanbul. If you check my Instagram and Flickr feed, you can get a sneak peek on the outcome. It’s a tough drill, you get great insightful challenging feedback. It really changed my way of photography to the better. I can only recommend joining the great little global community that his workshop alumni is by attending one yourself. Maciej’s a truly soulful person, with a kind and gentle character which does not stand between you and some tough feedback on your pictures. Attending his workshop definitely helped me pushing things to the next level. Although of course this level is still pretty low, I’m on a learner’s journey and continuously improve my photography step by step on the way.

Closing the bracket, I’m wondering the following: how many of you know the feeling of working a spot, and sometimes rolling away unsuccessfully? And how do you know when it’s time to move on for yourself?

There are 3 comments

Add yours
  1. Daniel

    Oh man, for some reason I missed all your recent updates. The RSS feed wasn’t in my reader, although I was pretty sure, I subscribed a while back. Anyhow: I resubscribed, and caught up a little. Good stuff!

    And to answer your questions:
    Oh, yes, I know the feeling very well, working a scene and feeling that I can’t quite make it work. It’s frustrating.
    And I often don’t know when it’s time to move on. When I’m out with non-photographers, I tend to move on more quickly, whereas when I’m out alone or with other photogs, I tend to stay a little longer (still without knowing, if it’s really going to work out in the end).

    But maybe, even the masters don’t always know when it’s time to move on:

  2. Ed

    Great comparison! Never saw it that way but now that you point it out I understand what you mean. Especially the bit about a pro skater pointing out stuff you wouldn’t normally skate, just like a pro street shooter will be drawn to details that I would normally miss.

Post a new comment