Phil Evans and Gibbo filming the documentary. Photo: Nils Svensson
Format Perspective DVD
A Documentary Film by Philip Evans
Format Perspective is a film documenting the work of six skateboard photographers in Europe. Filmmaker Philip Evans spent time following the photographers in their home countries as they went out to shoot photos of skateboarders. Evans chose to shoot the film all in Super 8mm film, which gives it a home movie feel. The interviews with the photographers appear mostly in the form of voiceovers (since Super 8mm lacks sound).
The featured photographers are names you may not be familiar with unless you live in Europe and follow the skateboard scene there. They include: Alex Irvine, Nils Svensson, Richard Gilligan, Stuart Robinson, Sergej Vutuc and Bertrand Trichet. All of these photographers are somewhat known in their own countries and shoot for publications that are native to their home. Many of them have had a little notoriety in the U.S. For example, Svensson recently shot a feature about Sweden’s notorious pro Pontus Alv (who also appears in this film) for Transworld Skateboarding and Trichet is the man behind the recent 5boro/Carharrt NYC to Detroit Collaboration (if you haven’t seen this, look it up, it’s great).
All the photographers featured in the film have really interesting interviews and the film does feature quite a bit of skateboarding. Even though the film is in English, at times the accents and dialects of the photographers make it a little hard to understand, but it’s definitely something you can get through if you’re interested in skateboarding and photography. Specifically, I really enjoyed Sergej Vutuc’s section as he uses a very cheap camera and does a lot to his photos in a darkroom. His method of working is really interesting and original as far as skateboard photography (and photography in general) is concerned. Also, in terms of imparting advice to young skateboard photographers, Alex Irvine had a great section. Irvine is currently the editor of Kingpin Magazine, which is a huge publication in Europe. Some notable quotes include, “I wish someone had told me how little money there is in skateboard photography,” and, “After spending all day at the bottom of some stairs lying in tramp piss, sometimes you get a good photo and it’s worth it.”
All in all, this video is an excellent insight into the European skateboard scene with an emphasis on a photographer’s perspective. I would suggest it to anyone interested in either. Pick it up online along with an 128-page hardcover book showcasing the photographer’s work at formatperspective.com.