Focusing predominantly on the photographers and filmmakers who documented the underground movement, Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera is an exhibition that celebrates the phenomenon of skateboarding culture.
While the world of skateboarding is widely celebrated for its contributions to popular culture, the freedom and rebellion of skaters have historically been largely ignored as an art form.
Covering the time period of over 50 years, the show is a review of behind-the-scenes glimpses and cultural shifts that came out of skateboarding. It focuses both on the skate community and its international origins.
The photographers featured in Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera are all known far and wide for having circulated within the skateboarding community at the time the underground movement was still in its early phases. While working in what many described as controversial, borderline uncontrollable settings was perilous at times, the results pretty much speak for themselves and prove that the risk was well worth it.
Thanks to the efforts of these documentary photographers and filmmakers, the wide-ranging genre of skateboarding photography has expanded to many artistic styles, while it also continued to exist through its own decree and on its own terms.
Naturally, the Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera exhibition primarily focuses on various content falling outside of the commonly held frame, and, by doing so, offers a number of perspectives through which the viewer can see the history of skateboarding.
Currently taking place in London, Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera features never before seen photography coming straight out of the archive of Oscar-winning director Spike Jonze and Glen E. Friedman.
Additionally, Dobie Campbell provided photographs from the London’s nascent skate scene of the early 1980s, while Transworld Skateboard Magazine editor and former Adidas skate team manager Skin Phillips contributed images from Mark Gonzales’ provocative performance at the Stadtisches Museum, Köln, Germany.
Finally, archival material from SkateBoarder, Thrasher, Transworld, R.a.D (Read and Destroy), Sidewalk, 411 Video Magazine and other publications provided the media essential for circulating the information about the rise of skateboarding culture.
Skateboarding as we know it today has been around since 1980, back when the first modern skateboard was made. Since then, both young and the not so young enjoyed riding the streets and experiencing the adrenaline rush of skating, while also carving out one of the most transcendent counterculture movements in recent history.
Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera is on view between the 7th and the 22nd of July 2018 at 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ, London, UK. After its stint in London, the exhibition will tour to North America during 2019, as well as Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympics, when skateboarding is scheduled to make its first official appearance at the international competition.
Featured images: Skin Phillips - Grandma Thrasher, 1984. Swansea; Tobin Yelland - Corey Chrysler focuses his car, 1992; Sam Muller - Untitled (Chris Maalouf, Montreal), 2015; Glen E. Friedman - Hanging at Adolph’s in Holmby Hill After School, 1977; Mike O’Meally - Palace Skate Team (Lucien Clarke, Chewy Cannon, Blondey McCoy, Jack Brooks, Danny Brady), Tottenham Hale, 2016; Glen E. Friedman - Chuck Askerneese and Marty Grimes at Kenter Canyon, 1975; Spike Jonze - Jason Lee and Mark Gonzales, Huntington Beach, 1989. All images © Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera.