Our very own dog Danny Sommerfeld just launched his website! On his piece of web space, you can take a virtual tour through his PLACE projects, his autonomous works and more. Basically, you will be able to sneak peek into his doggy brain.
To celebrate this event Danny delved into his archives and created something new out of something old, Upcycling his own work so to speak. All jokes aside though we have seen Danny learn a lot and transform his work into something worth looking at longer than your average picture
It is known to many of you that we like to hang out, skate, talk, and dance with a certain German professional photographer that goes by the name Conny Mirbach. Conny even shot some of the best stuff ever to make it into a PLACE Magazine. On the skateboard side of things, he can also hold his own and that is what we wanted to show you by bundling all his recent footage into this 2-minute video part. Enjoy the video and click here if you want to see some of Conny’s photo work.
Do you remember your first roommate? The one-of-a-kind mess he could leave behind? The mess that only one person could bring into this world? This is the portrait of your roommate. The tomato sauce on the dishes, the coffee stains on the kitchen table: All of this is a unique expression of someone’s past presence.
The same goes for a photo, for example. I explained it a lot of people like this. Look at a Danny Sommerfeld photograph. There are plenty of shots in this issue. Very often, besides dogs, old people, and bananas, you see Danny himself in the shots, although he’s not physically present in the photos. He brings the moment to life in his own way of capturing it.
A portrait doesn’t have to be a mug shot or a full body shot. It can be a lot of things. You can take a portrait of a landscape as well as of a war, or of a situation or even one of love.
We gave this issue as much personality as possible while keeping ot dreamy and abstract. This issue is about each and every character in our world that we find interesting enough to feature, allowing the subjects the space they deserve to shine.
For our “One From Five” article, we asked five photographers if they could send in one photo. The only allowance was the world of a “portrait” as a guideline. The first reaction from all of them was, “yeah, of course. That’s easy.” Five days later it turned out to be the most difficult task ever. “Only one shot?” they came back asking. “Yup, just one!” We responded.
You’ll find the result in the pages of this issue. For the longest time I wanted to print an interview without a single word in it. Just because most of the time the skater is not able to catch up with his body language. A good photo can be ruined by only a couple of words. Here’s Dane Brady from Portland/Oregon, with the first interview, with both question and answer captured in just the photograph, minus the typical skater chitchat. That’s all you need, if you bring as much to the table as Mr. Brady does. Same goes for Jerry Hsu, Sara Parson Texas, Giorgi Armani or K-Rod & Jon, a piece that even has a romantic twist to it.
All of these people are easy to draw because they have such a strong character. Give it a try: Draw your person of choice, in your eyes, buoyant with character, and you will know what I mean.
The guy featured on this issue’s cover might be new to you, but for us his visual presence had a big impact on this issue. Almost like a muse, he appears throughout this issue. For us, he’s pretty easy to draw. Get the point?
Alright guys, get your pens out and we all hope you will enjoy this issue. Thank you!
Skimming through this issue, a couple of things might have become appartent to you. The biggest question you may have noticed us grappling with is what, in fact, is a portrait, and maybe even more importantly, what constitutes a good portrait, and why? As you continue to browse, you might come to multiple, various conclusions. Each one of these will be an important part of you journey back to this central question; you might find yourself becoming increasingly interested in the way you, the reader, and the people featured in this magazine are trying to relate to this theme of the portrait. Coming back to this question will put you in the same state of mind that we were while brainstorming for this issue.
What constitutes a portrait? The current, most direct way to create one is to take out your phone and take a selfie, a sign of the times once reserved for artists who took the time to recreate their own likeness using more analog forms of art production. Our portraiture inquiries were broad in the early phases of creating this issue: we wondered about objects, whether an object could be a portrait of a person. Could a bed, a MacBook, or an internet browser’s history also constitute a portrait? One could argue, in a sense, that more could be said about a person’s character by scrolling through the chronicle of websites they’ve visited than looking at the way he or she renders his or herself via self-portraiture.
Another important question we tossed around is how can a group portrait be made, something we, as the magazine’s stuff, tried to do. What if we were to hire a detective to follow our interview subjects around for a day? Would that work? Could someone else portray you, or would that create a portrait of you both, in tandem, the portrayer and the portrayed, simultaneously, together, in one piece? All roads seem to lead back to Rome, but that doesn’t mean everybody in Rome took the same route. And that is what we wanted to discover as we brainstormed our way to this article. Five people all received one and the same assignment: Create a portrait in your own way, think about the question, yourself and the medium of photography and create something, whether it be an answer or a reflection on the question.
…And you should. There is a thin line between plagerizing and drawing inspiration. Generally, you should ask yourself if you’ve already crossed that line, but rather focus on what is best for your work by naturally developing content, material, and ideas in the process of production. But even if you take an abstract idea and articulate it, putting it in your on words, you will always find people that will see what other work or artist your piece is inspired by.
Our very own Danny Sommerfeld took the idea of David Hockney’s photographic collages and brought it into our world, which is that of skateboarding. While some seem to lose themselves in the photograph, others will always think of hockney’s famous works of classical L.A.: Backyard pools, open roads and cars. As such, in every image you encounter over the next few pages, you’ll also find a little Hockney. And like any other idea you have, there is always someone who might have thought the same, though one way or another, somewhat differently. Even your masters have found their inspiration in other works, just as Hockney sought inspiration from Picasso’s early cubism pieces. He took this idea and brought it into the world of photography.
Take your time to find the beauty in every shot and maybe you’ll find some little hints here and there – odes to photographic masters of yesterday, perhaps some pieces of inspiration for the artists of tomorrow. Nothing is absolutely perfect or unique. Here is to David Hockney:
by Daniel Pannemann
Photos: Danny Sommerfeld
Friends – Bremen, 2016
Farid Ulrich – Betonhausen Berlin, 2016
Johannes Schirrmeister – Alexanderplatz Berlin, 2016
Last Thursday Thomas Busutill launched the long-awaited Aus Berlin Yearbook at Civilist store in Berlin. As the De Paris and Of London ones the Aus Berlin Yearbook is also a great compilation of street photography from various photographers, which depict the life of skateboarders in one of Europe’s greatest skate metropolises. The book is a piece of art as it is a piece of history with photographies from Henrik Biemer, Benjamin Deberdt, Alexei Lapin, Alex Pires, Danny Sommerfeld and many many more.
The book launch was accompanied by a photo exhibition and a video premiere as well.
The man behind the Kaffeezigarette columns, Danny Sommerfeld, is back with a bunch of new snapshots. This time Barcelona was the travel destination of choice. But instead of shooting skateboarding, which would be obvious, Danny had a whole different approach.
It’s pretty unusual for skateboarders who pick up a photo camera to shoot subjects other than their friends skating. At least that’s what we thought before we met Stas Provotorov. The Muscovite is a really good skateboarder, with sponsorship from adidas Russia, and you may remember some of his appearances in Patrik Wallner’s documentary series Meet The Stans. But when he invited us over, we couldn’t find any skate photos in Stas’ flat in Moscow. He lives there together with his girlfriend Katya and is a rising star in Russian street photography – maybe by accident, or just by walking around the city open-minded, with a good heart and a roll of black and white film.
His street photography connects us with humanity in all its forms, and in turn allows us to be and feel more human in our day-to-day lives. We sat around on his carpet drinking red wine and eating pelmenies, while Stas showed us his photo collection. Besides some conceptual series of gay Russian men in a local park shot analog on a Hasselblad, he spontaneously captures anonymous moments of beauty, absurdity, grace, and sorrow. His evocative photographs show a deeper meaning in social relations and often bring it all together in a memorable way.
These days, Stas is studying at The Rodchenko Art School in Moscow and this PLACE feature is his very first publication. He’s kind of shy, but his images tell a different story.
Every now and then, you hear a name that for some reason gets stuck in your head. Either it’s because you really like what the person is doing, or simply because you like the sound of the name. Cameron Strand is a very pleasant and easy-to-pronounce name and we also really like what he’s doing. And while it’s always difficult for us to feature American photographers with photographs of American skaters on American spots – we’ll make an exception for Cameron Strand. With this portfolio we want to invite you guys to sit back and enjoy the sunshine in these photos, and get your essential amount of Vitamin D for your health.
As a skateboarder, it’s only natural to feel the urge to document your life: skateboarders are constantly honing in on the skill of observation, they are ocular sponges to a degree of absurdity, not to mention obsessive personalities, and if our interest is piqued, we learn the importance of not just asking how, but also to ask why. It is this second question that dictates the difference between understanding a motion and being inspired by a motion. We can apply this in so many other mediums – one of them being photography. Why we photograph is so much more important than how. Photography can inspire awareness; its power is undeniable. It is a medium that has altered the way we tell stories and perceive the world. As skateboarders/photographers we begin by pointing our lenses inward and documenting our own lives: we learn to create imagery with a pleasing aesthetic, and we travel all over the world with our friends shooting roll after roll of film, creating. I think there is a pivotal moment in this photographic career, when we decide to abandon our own story to focus on the story of the world, the stories of people, and the curious moments that inspire them.
A nostalgic edit about a whole different period of German skateboarding, brought to you by the good people over at Bonkers Shop in Frankfurt am Main. This video includes skateboarding by Schwarzi, Michel Lang, Sascher Richter at the famous Hauptwache spot in Frankfurt am Main.
French photographer Éric Antoine decided to self publish a high quality photo book named “Ensemble Seul”. To do so, he will need your help: If you appreciate his work and mind buying one of these beauties, please head over to ulule.com and support this project. Learn more about this crowdfunding project and see some previews below:
A poem in the form of a Japanese haiku consists of no more than three short lines, 17 syllables in total, and it’s usually a somewhat quirky observation of a fleeting moment in time. Often involving nature, seasonal changes, and featuring crisp punchlines, we felt tempted to present our first impression of the following photographs as haikus – flying down five steps, then seven, then five again. Here you go: No drafts or second thoughts, it’s all about pure expression of a sudden insight.
modern kid of pure skating
in the gang of crooks
no one is leading the force
stop pretending please
they are watching you
you never live in freedom
windows of the world
turning around in their mind
it’s a different view
story of the bird
turning around in their height
time is ticking fast
go up go down round and round
searching for a chance
still waiting for the big break
damn it don‘t give up
The Hauptwache spot in Frankfurt am Main was one of the best spots for the German skateboard culture back in the 90’s. Other than that it is located in the middle of a European metropolis. Bumfights, drug-dealing and skateboarding, this Exhibition shows all of it. Make sure to step by at Bonkers to see a documentation of a very important era of European skateboarding.
Silvester auf Malle ist nur einmal im Jahr, dachten sich die Oberhunde von TPDG Supplies und nutzen die Gelegenheit um sich ein paar schöne Tage im und um den Bierkönig herum zu machen. Drake war auch dabei und DJ Herzmann hat die vielen Busfahrten mit Hits am Fließband musikalisch unterlegt – gut aufgelegt.
Bestellt euch ‘ne Cerveza oder einen Café con leche por favor und genießt die folgenden #picofthedays mit ein paar klassisch schwarz-weißen Postkarten-Momente! In diesem Sinne #greetingsfromtpdg und welcome to the great outdoors.
Der Name Erik Groß steht für stilsicheres Skateboarding, auch wenn es in jüngster Vergangenheit ein bisschen ruhiger um ihn wurde – zumindest was Coverage angeht. Erik hat in einem schleichenden Prozess die Fotografie für sich entdeckt und ist bei seinen Reisen mittlerweile verstärkt hinter diversen Kameras aktiv – irgendwo zwischen Skateboarding und Portraits, Hauptsache analog. Grund genug für uns, ihn einfach mal erzählen zu lassen: Na, was denn jetzt Erik, Skate, Portraits oder Skateboartraits?
Alles begann vor knapp vier Jahren, als ich mir zu Weihnachten eine Canon AE-1 schenkte. Und was fotografiert man als Erstes, wenn man selbst Skateboarder ist? Richtig… Blumen. Nee Quatsch, natürlich seine Freunde beim und neben dem Skaten.
Irgendwann schnupperte man dann auch mal in die professionelle Skateboardfotografie, wenn man als Skater für Magazine Stufen runterflog oder Handläufe entlang rutschte. Ich begann zu verstehen, was der Fotograf da auf dem Boden eigentlich mit den ganzen Blitzen und einer fünf-hundertstel Verschlusszeit machte.
Letztendlich habe auch ich mich immer mehr mit dem Schießen von Skatefotos befasst und ich habe riesigen Respekt vor Leuten wie Henne (Herzmann), die am laufenden Band perfekte Shots abliefern. Aber sich um drei am Pennyrail für einen
Backsmithfoto zu treffen, war nie meine Art zu fotografieren. Ich mag mehr alles drumherum – das Pushen, die blutigen Hände und natürlich erst recht den Fahrer selbst. Ich habe angefangen, alle Skater, mit denen ich unterwegs war, zu
portraitieren und habe dabei gemerkt, dass ich mich beim Entwickeln der Bilder genauso auf das Portrait wie auch auf ein Trickfoto gefreut habe.
Dadurch wurde für mich alles persönlicher und interessanter. Nach und nach habe ich auch Leute außerhalb von Skateboarding fotografiert und fand es total spannend, die unterschiedlichen Gesichter auf Film zu bannen und sie gleichzeitig näher kennenzulernen.
Diese Serie von Danny ist für die Place #50 entstanden und beschreibt genau meinen Stil zu fotografieren. Wir waren zwei Tage zusammen unterwegs, skateten im Regen auf dem Tempelhofer Feld, fotografierten uns gegenseitig und hatten jede Menge Spaß. Dabei ging es nicht um einen bestimmten Trick an Spot XY, sondern eben um alles andere.
Sam Partaix ist ein leidenschaftlicher Mensch: Neben dem Skateboarding und den dazugehörigen Reisen gilt sein Interesse vor allem den Tattoos, sowie der Fotografie. Nach sieben Jahren, die der Wahlberliner mittlerweile für Vans unterwegs ist, wird ihm jetzt die Ehre zuteil einen eigenen Colorway zu bekommen. Seinen Slip On Pro zieren – wie könnte es anders sein – Motive, die Sam unter der Haut trägt, auf den Innensohlen finden sich Fotografien von ihm. Der Schuh wird ab dem 18. April bei ausgewählten Händlern, als auch online zu haben sein.
Und so sieht das gute Stück am Fuß aus – geschossen bei tropischen 11 Grad:
A few months back we introduced Marco Hernandez, a 22-year-old photographer from Staten Island – home of the Wu, but otherwise “the forgotten borough” of NYC – to our online readers, but since he loves printed imagery (easily) as much as we do, we decided it’s time for a proper, paper-based, classic-style feature: About to release his first book “Smokers”, for which Hernandez followed Ed Templeton’s and Jim Jarmusch’s (sans coffee pots) example and shot a whole bunch of friends and strangers, we also discussed skating in NYC, the radness of printed matter (i.e. zine culture), and the smoky ludicrousness of ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems).
Marco, how’s life in the forgotten borough these days? What are you up to? Is it still “Stagnant Island” to you?
It’s been pretty good, living here isn’t so bad. It’s nice to get away from all the silence and get out to skate the real streets and shoot photos, but at the end of the day it’s nice to relax back at the home with silence and not hearing cabs beep all night.
Does Staten Island still feel like “unmarked territory” to you in terms of NYC skateboarding?
It’s definitely unmarked territory for skateboarding because a lot of people don’t want to do the traveling part of it; you pretty much need a car to get to spots and search for them, but it’s definitely worth the while.
How much of your time do you dedicate to photography these days? 100%, or do you still have other jobs on the side?
My photography takes up about 80% of my time, the other 20% goes to working normal everyday jobs just to provide the funds to buy more film, cameras, food, and to continue doing what I’m doing.
You’ve been dubbed a “skate life photographer” – is that still an apt description? Is the balance shifting?
Yeah, I definitely would consider myself a skate life photographer just because everything I shoot is usually taken while I’m out skating. There’s so much more to it than just the actual skating, it’s like a hangout mostly. Whenever I’m out, I usually expect to get something out of it, there’s always a photogenic moment that comes up whenever the bros get together.
The bros… who’ve you been skating and shooting tricks with lately?
Lately I’ve been around a lot of different people, but usually you can catch me with Shawn Powers, Igor, Jeremie Egiazarian, Lucas Knight, the list goes on, I think I know almost every skateboarder in NYC.
What can you tell me about that moment when you were so consumed with skateboarding that you started to hate it?
That was a weird moment in time, I wouldn’t necessarily say I hated it, but it got to a point where I got so obsessed with skateboarding, all I did was read skate mags, watch skate videos… I was just so consumed with it I felt like I didn’t have anything else in my life.
I wanted to have more experience with photography so I started shooting street photos, fashion, portraits, just getting my hands into everything so I can see what it’s worth. And then I took a small break from skate photos just to work on my book, “Smokers”. But even when I try to stay away from it on the rolls I commit to shooting for this book, I’ll always have a couple exposures of some skate shots in there as well. But now I appreciate everything skateboarding has done for me, it kept me out of trouble growing up, it’s gotten me into everything I’m into now, so it’s definitely the essence.
Since you’re heavily into zines, books, and analog, black-and-white photos – are you generally somewhat old-school minded?
I actually enjoy using my iPhone and Instagram and all that, but I believe that images hold value and meaning when they’re in print. You can easily skip through images on a site and leave them unnoticed, it’s almost like the images have no purpose. I love looking through zines and books, it’s a better experience than clicking through an online editorial.
Even with skate mags, on some online issues there are sick photos you can’t observe well enough through the megapixels, I would much rather be holding the issue of the magazine and flip through the pages. I took a required class at the college I go to, and I had to start off at an introduction photo class to proceed onto the next class, which sucked and was completely boring.
The class required students to use their phones to take pictures, and I didn’t understand why, if you are going to teach about photography, why limit them to a smart phone where they can’t control anything? I just think there is a lot of laziness, people can take an image on their digital device and manipulate it to look like a photo shot with 35mm film or even a Polaroid. Meanwhile, major film companies are slowly discontinuing films that these apps try to replicate.
And doing a book, your first one – does it feel even better than having an exposition, because it’s going to last for such a long time?
I definitely have been shooting with a different mind set only because of that, once this book is made it’s going to be there forever. But that’s just me being insecure about people not liking it, usually I get hyped on everything I’ve been shooting so I am pretty excited to have it done. I’ve taken time only because if it’s rushed, it will show in the images, and you can’t rush perfection.
I know Ed Templeton’s “Teenage Smokers” book was a huge inspiration for this project… and since his work is often quite candid, how are your feelings about showing friends and strangers in candid shots?
His work is most definitely an inspiration behind it. Most of the images aren’t candid but I have a handful of candid shots in the mix. My friends I am comfortable with shooting, so candid shots aren’t a problem, shooting strangers candidly can sometimes ricochet and they notice you and that can lead to something bad.
Some people don’t like their photos taken, some people find it interesting and some people have asked me if what I was shooting was for an anti-smoking campaign, ha-ha. Even though smoking is really bad for you, it definitely looks rad in photos, which is weird.
You’ve shot the entire book with black-and-white 35mm film, are you generally into old-school, analog photography and developing methods? Or do you still shoot both, digital and analog?
I do shoot with digital cameras as well, I usually shoot with it only with skating or with a client I am working with because of the faster results. With this book, I developed all the rolls myself, made contact sheets, scanned all the film with my scanner, I take pride in my work, I can’t really trust labs to do the process for me only because I get worried they can mess it up and it’s ruined.
The last time we spoke you said you were about to build your own darkroom in the basement… so you’re done building now!
I am! The enlarger is a little trashy but it works. I made a couple prints in my basement once but I just didn’t have the right materials so the results weren’t the best. But as of now I’ve been looking into a new enlarger, I’ve also been using public darkrooms but only in the morning time because there are no students or regular people there.
Since our whole issue is going to focus on the theme “offline/analog”: have you ever photographed anyone smoking one of those new vaporizer e-cigarettes?
Ha-ha, no! I’m not sure about other people’s opinion on it, but I find it to be such a “Bro” thing. Here in Staten Island, the only people who use vapes are people who listen to dub-step music and mostly do it in public just to be that guy. I did it once as a joke, we were skating and this kid let me try it – the amount of smoke that came out of my mouth was ridiculous! It’s starting to take over though, there is a store down the block from my house that just opened, it’s called VAPE CAVE, should be interesting to see the type of people I’ll be seeing in the area.
Did that fascination with smoking, the rad look of it, make you try smoking as well? Do you smoke?
No, I don’t smoke. I have tried it a couple times, most of my friends do and I just think it’s photogenic. People insist I’m promoting an unhealthy lifestyle and will go on about how I shouldn’t be exposing this to the world but honestly, it’s a personal choice for people, we are all going to die anyway.
You had a show and a zine called “I remember nothing”… is photography a way to remember moments otherwise forgotten?
Yes! Whenever I am out I take so many photos, it’s pretty funny because sometimes I’ll be too lazy to develop the films, and the rolls sit for days, then I forget what I shot and I decide to get out and do it. Photography is definitely always going to be a way to remember something, good or bad.
Did you ever get in trouble for taking pictures?
Not really, a lot of the time people don’t really care, but I have come across some characters that threatened me but I don’t feel intimidated by that. Although one time I was shooting photos of my friend skating a drained-out pool in Staten Island, the park’s Department cornered the whole place so we cooperated, all of us had gotten $50 tickets for trespassing and honestly, we could’ve easily dodged that because they kept mentioning how scared they were of us because there was about 10 of us and three of them.
Have you been dabbling with video as well? Maybe some super-8 stuff, keeping it analog?
I thought about it a couple times to start shooting video as well, but that’s a whole different realm so I feel when I get the confidence to start learning and doing the same steps I did with photography, I’ll be shooting with super-8 cameras and all that.
Nice! Do you still sell most of your zines to London? Got an explanation why that is so?
Yeah, a lot of my customers are from the UK, I always have to pay for custom slips and all that jazz when I send them out. Honestly, I am heavily into European skate culture, I always have been since I was a teenager, so it’s definitely an awesome feeling that I’m known out there. I’m into brands like Palace, Polar, Magenta, Isle, the old Blueprint, so it just feels right, hopefully I can travel out there soon.
Hopefully! What can you tell me about recent zines? Or forthcoming ones?
I recently made a skate zine with Meanwhile Press out of the UK called ‘Mean Streets’. Out of all my zines, this one has gotten a lot of exposure and sold out twice on the web store. I definitely will be making another one soon, I challenge myself to make at least three zines a year. I think I’ll continue to make zines until I die, it’s a rad culture and being able to trade them with people, sell them, look through them, it’s just an awesome feeling looking at your work blown up in pages and hearing people talk about it.
Almost as awesome as seeing your work on a board, I guess… you once did a board graphic for The Northern Co., are you planning to do more stuff like that in the future?
Of course, I am always willing to work with skateboard companies on graphics or even shooting for them, even if it isn’t paid. I love skateboarding and if a brand is willing to give me the opportunity to place my photo on boards, that’s all I need. Who knows, maybe I’ll reach out to another brand and we will see if a new graphic is possible.
Let’s wrap this up. You’ve been listening to the streets since your first zine release (“The Streets Talk But Do We Listen?”), so I wondered: have you been hearing different things lately compared to when you first started roaming the streets in 2011?
Not at all, the streets are always going to be dangerous, but that’s what makes it so much more fun.
What else can you announce for 2015?
I have plans to have another solo exhibition in NYC, release my “Smokers” book within this year, and continue to skate indoors during this rough winter NYC has been going through. Other than that, just enjoying life and having fun, that’s what it’s all about.