Business Insights: The rise of girls skate photographers

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From the collection Everybody Skates © Lanna Apisukh.

Skateboarding and digital photography have always had an intrinsic connection. Now, as more ladies drop into the scene, a brand new wave of photographers are stepping up behind the zoom lens

Since its inception in the 1950s, skate boarding has always had the roots in creativity, personal expression and street tradition. Originating in California – progressing from the days of riding cedar planks when the surf was level, or carving empty pools – the subculture provides spread worldwide, cultivating plus inspiring countless strands of style and reference.  

All through this history, the relationship among skaters and photographers continues to be central to its advancement, providing opportunities for direct exposure on both sides of the zoom lens. When Patti McGee, the particular world’s first professional women’s skateboarder, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1965 , hints of women skateboarding grew to become visible in the mass media. Even though women have been skating since the its inception – Patti McGee, Z-Boys’ Peggy Oki, and Cara Beth Burnside, for example – the majority of pictures documenting the subculture were made by men. Photographs by artists including Glen Electronic. Friedman , Ed Templeton and L. Grant Brittain have become well-known, published by world-famous publications such as Thrasher and Skateboarder .  

But these spaces tended to be male-dominated. Back in the 80s and 90s – on the sidelines from the street, the vert or maybe the pool – there weren’t as many women photographers. The earliest shots photographed by women were taken by skateboarders on their own. Formed in the 1990s, simply by Brazilian photographers and skaters Liza Araujo and Luciana Ellington, Check It Out was one of the world’s first women-led skateboard publications. Later, in 2003, filmmaker Lisa Whitaker created Girls Skate Network , a web site dedicated to female skaters.

Now, female-led skate magazines are vital in supplying opportunities for genuine rendering and recognition. Contemporary titles like Skate Witches Zine and Dolores Magazine continue to act as tastemakers in the scene. As more women take up skate boarding, and the gender bias begins to close , behind the scenes, collectives of feminine skate photographers are getting traction and recognition.

Lilly Strachen © Jenna Selby.

Jenna Selby [above, right] is a former skateboarder who has been capturing the increase of the female skating scene for two decades. “I was obviously a sponsored skater, and component of our ‘skateboarding’ contract has been to attend competitions, but We didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect, so the team supervisor asked if I’d consider pictures of the team rather, ” she says. “Things have definitely changed for your better and there are much more women and girls at skateparks now. I think we will today see more female skate photographers coming through. ” 

In 2016, Australian photographer Sarah Huston founded Yeah Girl , a system that initially launched being an exhibition of female skateboarders shot by women. As a skate photographer herself, Huston discovered more women photographers via social media, and the platform has since grown into a global community that documents plus celebrates women’s skateboarding as well as creative undercurrents.

“As women’s skateboarding grows it’s important we maintain the DIY culture and continue to tell our story from the heart, offering an authentic perspective from the grassroots level, ” states Huston. The handful of ladies at the forefront of skate photography over the past 10 years are already, like Selby and Huston, the skaters themselves that are ingrained in the community: Mimi Knoop, Louise Menke, Sarah Meurle, Norma Ibarra, Alana Paterson, Zorah Olivia, and Olga Aguilar, to name a few.  

© Norma Ibarra.

Norma Ibarra [above] is a recent success story in the modern skating scene. The Philippine photographer first picked up the skateboard in 2016, elderly 31, and recognised there were few people documenting the girl community. “I made a mission to shine the sunshine on the non-traditional skate local community around me. ” the girl explains. “The first time I saw one of my photos released in the Skate Witches Zine I was hooked. ”

In 2020, skateboarding made its debut at the summer season Olympics, and since then Ibarra has noticed bigger brands reaching out to support women behind the lens. Still, there is still a long way to go. Ibarra tends to stick to collaborating along with other women in her group, where she feels safe plus supported. “We have excellent mentors and leaders [in our community] paving the way for everyone, ” she states.  

Much Rockaway, New York, May two, 2021: Skateboarder Charlotte Tegen resting after a long day of skating and training a skate clinic along with GrlSwirl NYC at Bayswater skatepark. © Lanna Apisukh.

From the series Everybody Skates © Lanna Apisukh.

The opportunities and appetite to shine the light on these lesser-seen neighborhoods in skating has grown. A great example of this is Lanna Apisukh , the skater and photographer, who else since 2018 began capturing portraits of the community and culture surrounding her in New York [above]. “I noticed the explosive growth in women skating. It was super inspiring to see more females getting on boards but also queer, trans and non-binary folks too. ” states Lanna. “There were more meetups and small companies creating safe spaces for us to skate, so I began to bring my camera along to these events to record the great change I was viewing. ” 

These images were brought together into a collection called Everybody Skate, that was made into a New York Occasions print spread last summer season, gaining worldwide attention. It marked the achievement of the dream for Lanna like a photographer, but also for all grassroots content creators to realize it was possible.  

From New York to Nairobi, Manchester to Malmo, if you seem, you will find there is a growing plus vast network of women photographers documenting grassroots communities and layers of a niche lifestyle worthy of discovery. Women skate photographers have always been around –  as long as women boarders have. But as an growing number of women and girls around the world pick up both skateboards and cameras, there is more reason to pay attention than ever before.

Hannah Bailey

Hannah is an award-winning photographer, maker, and journalist who works tirelessly to shine the spotlight on women in action sports. She shows the actual faces, telling genuine stories of those involved in the niche tradition to inspire others to get involved and society as a whole.

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