Working alone on a project like the United Skateboard Photography Project means having A LOT of patience and having your goal in mind. If not, I would have given up a couple of years ago already. The same goes with interviews. Some times I think it’s going to work out, then it takes months until anything moves and then you receive that one email and it was all worth the effort.
This short interview with the guys behind Skateface.se has been on my mind for almost two years now and finally it came together. I always loved the portrait photos they created of the many skateboarders who have come and skated at events in Sweden. There are so many great photos on their site that I really just picked some out to show here. Make sure you visit the site, it’s worth it.
And while you’re at it: Klas (together with a fellow named Christopher Sanitate) are the makers of the movie “Grumpy Old Skaters” (www.grumpyoldskaters.com), a great entertaining documentary about the two legendary skaters Janne Loftén och Johnny Sandberg from Sweden who together almost have 100 years of life behind them. Enjoy the interview, the photos and thanks so much Klas & Peter for doing this!
Glad to finally get this interview done. Tell us all who the dynamic duo is behind Skateface.se (names, where you from and if you want how old you are)
Klas Hjertberg & Peter Gehrke, two 50 year old farts from Stockholm, Sweden.
How did you two find each other and when did you decide to start Skateface?
We have known each other through skateboarding and photography, and we came up with the idea that we see all this crazy skating but rarely the face behind them, so we teamed up and gave it a go.
What is your background (studies and/or life in general) and how did you get started with photography?
Klas: I got my first skateboard in 1976 when my father came back from visiting a cousin in Chicago, at the same time I was very interested in images and drawing and got a camera a year later or so.
Peter: I was more in to art and painting as a youngster ..Then I bought myself a camera when I was around 16 and really liked the instant feel with that working too. And got hooked and still am…
We both are professional photographers since years back, started as apprentice very early and worked our way up.
You have created a wonderful collection of portraits and memories from several skate contests in Malmö – has this given you guys more acknowledgement in the photo community and have companies contacted you for further work? Or has life carried on usual?
Thank you…Well, we have kept a pretty low profile with it as we think we want to keep the work within the skate community. I think we just wanted to do the skateface thing for ourselves at first and right know we don’t have a future plan…yet. But yes, there are a few people and companies we’ve spoken to.
Every photographer seems to have their “tricks” when getting the right moment and the pose when doing portrait photos. Do you guys have something special you do to tickle the emotions out of people you are putting into frames?
Not really sure what it could be, maybe our ”victims” can feel that we also are skaters and have our roots in that environment…perhaps.
Like with skateboards you surely have your personal opinion and choice when it comes to photography equipment. Tell us a bit about the cameras, lenses, flashes and more that you use for different types of photography (yeah, it can be a long answer if you want!)
Hmmm. Both of us work with many different types of equipment depending on the job we’re doing. In this case we used Hasselblad large format, normal lens, profoto flashes and a white background, the outside shoot at Ultra Bowl we used just the sun as light source. The biggest part I think is that its all about what kind of visual idea comes up in your mind, doesn’t really matter what kind of stuff you use.
Have you been influenced by certain photographers/designers/people in your personal development? And if so , who were these people?
Probably many, but none I can recall right now. Think it is a mixture amongst a lot of creative people.
Do you specialize in any other type of photography?
We both earn our living in the advertising industry…haha
If you could photograph any person/group of people in the world, who would you like to get in front of your camera?
For me, Klas, it doesn’t really matter, the stronger/crazier/funny character the better.
Final question and I hope this is a rhetorical question: are we going be seeing you guys at Vert Attack X again?