Photography is the most accessible and intelligible language of snowboarding, understood not only by those who ride but also those who don’t, but should. It’s not only a catalyst for progression but also a record of how snowboarding has progressed: It can teach and inspire, as well as set benchmarks to which all can aspire, both in photography and riding.
Each week Danny Burrows asks a pro photographer to choose a shot from their archives and divulge its worth of a thousand words.
I picked this Picture of the Week not only because it is a banger, by the brilliant photographer Andy Wright, featuring one of snowboarding’s most iconic and influential rippers, Mikey LeBlanc, but also because the picture was used in David Benedeck’s seminal opus, Current State: Snowboarding.
“David's book is by far the best of it's kind; the first to really capture the essence of what snowboarding culture is really about, and he really leaves no stone unturned” Andy Wright said of the book.
Written, edited and designed by David, the book features 23 interviews with characters that David describes as having “significantly influenced snowboarding culture over the last 30 years” as well as hand picked images and illustrations. Interviewees include heavyweights of the industry like Jake Burton and Snowboarder Magazine’s editor Pat Bridges, as well as a host of snowboarding’s most influential riders, including MFM, JP Walker, Terje and Jed Anderson.
The layout of the book consists of two books which work together almost as a graphic jigsaw when read. The design has won David a clutch awards; acclaim which David describes as “very cool”, especially as in his own words he has “no formal education” in design.
I asked David if he believed if there was a correlation between involvement in snowboarding and creative flow? He certainly believes that it has influenced his passion for the aesthetic: “both, from just being out in such amazing scenery as well as snowboarding itself being so visual. If you break it down, snowboarding is really only about looking around you and trying to react to your environment in a creative and spontaneous matter”.
And does David think that the book is, as the name implies, a true representation of the current state of snowboarding? “I don't think anyone can actually make a book that lives up to that name” he replied. “First of all because everything in this book, from the people in it to the ones that I left out, is a very subjective selection. I would be so bold to say that the cross-section between all those opinions (of the 23 folks interviewed) does give a fairly good image of snowboarding's current state”.
This picture too, although not fresh off the memory card, could still be a good representation of snowboarding in its current state, such is the influence of the likes of Mikey on the present scene. “Shooting with Mikey was always one of the most productive and fun times. Not only is he constantly entertaining you and making you laugh, he's also coming up with tricks after trick that's either never been done or never done like how he's doing it”.
If you want to check out more of Andy’s shots and own your own copy of David’s Current State: Snowboarding David has kindly extended a 10% discount, previously only available to industry folk, to readers of this article. Head over to www.almostanything.com and use the voucher INDUSTRY.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 15mm f/2.8
Rider: Mikey LeBlanc
Trick: Backside 180
Location: Ogden, Utah, USA
Photographer's website: www.andywrightphoto.com