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Why Skateboarding Is More Relevant Than Ever

July 2018Words by Mr Cian Traynor

Messrs Chuck Askerneese and Marty Grimes at Kenter Canyon, 1975. Photograph by Mr Glen E Friedman, all photographs courtesy of Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera 2018

Skate culture never stops evolving, absorbing something new from every generation that discovers it. But one constant thread is the importance of timing, and how skate culture reflects (and reacts against) the eras in which it exists. Nowhere is that more clear than with Against The Grain, a new exhibition celebrating the enduring legacy of skateboarding – framed through the photographers and filmmakers who helped define it.

Curated by Mr Frankie Shea and Ms Jaime Marie Davis, it includes previously unseen work from pivotal shifts between skateboarding’s boom in the 1970s and the present day, whether it’s taking place at a bone-dry pool in Southern California or a homemade mini-ramp in Nottingham.

Three images by Mr J Grant Brittain, one of the most influential names in skate photography over the past 40 years, each hone in on a different discipline. There’s Mr Rodney Mullen’s ballet-like flatland freestyling, a shot of the legendary Bones Brigade (complete with clunky elbow pads and helmets) from 1986, as well as a picture of Mr Tod Swank which graced the cover of Transworld Skateboarding a year later, redefining the look of street photography.