Skateboarding, for some, might be considered as a religion. A methodical practice of movements, careful and measured jumps, all coming together for a magical yet risky adventure on 4 wheels. Throughout time, many photographers have followed the likes of skateboarding gurus around the world, skillfully documenting this almost-religious practice.
For Romain Cailleaud, the experience of sharing the ins and outs of a skateboarding team is incomparable, giving him the chance to take very intimate and exclusive pictures. Truly, a unique opportunity for someone who aside of being a photographer, is also a skateboarder himself. This French photographer has been inspired by renowned skateboarding visual artist Fred Mortagne, also known globally for his constant documentation of skateboarders and their craft with Leica cameras.
As Cailleaud maintains his eagerness to be at the right place and at the right time in order to get that perfect shot, he refers to the subtle practice of shooting with film. As he shared with us on a previous blog post about his experience with the Leica M2, the work for this project encompassed the sole objective of bringing to life the work of this skateboarding team. As he explains it: “Last September Magenta Skateboard ask me to follow them for a road trip, it was a dream come true for me to go on a tour with a skateboard team the goal was to promote their new video “just cruise” and skate with the local skateboarders in the West cost of France, we did 4 cities and stayed 3 days in each (La Rochelle, Nantes, St Nazaire and Rennes).”
The entire set of images was shot with his “trusty” Leica M6 and the Summicron 40mm, achieving a grainy, yet crips look, depending on available light conditions. In the same manner, part of the success of these images is based on the fact that Cailleaud is also a skateboarder himself. “Every day is like more or less the same, you get up early enough, have breakfast with everyone and go in the street looking for the right spot with the help of local folks to take pictures. Sometimes, it’s very late, 1 or 2 in the morning, and you try to not be kicked out by the police or the people who live nearby,” he explains. A lively and friendly experience, is what Romain concludes with. Suggesting that after several nights of sleeping, laughing and sharing with the others, you get to know them better, and thus achieving better quality images.
Exploring and experimenting is a definite constant when shooting skateboarding. Romain explains: “I’m a skateboarder so I know the subject well. Sometimes I take a lot of time to try to bring the context of the scene, environment, architecture, and try to be original and find different angles. I sometimes use the street elements to create reflections, and sometimes I get closer to find some privacy for my subjects.” An additional point he mentions is the overall feeling and rush that he aims to depict through his images. The mixture of cultures, music, fashion, street culture, among other elements, is what adds to a skateboarder’s lifestyle, heightening the feelings and emotions of joy, pain and success. A lot can happen in a fraction of a second, so it must be a unique privilege to record these serendipitous moments.