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What Skateboard Photos Would Look Like 200 Years Ago

By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.


Nowadays we have seen photography evolve to top quality. Even so, there are some photographers and artists like Jenny Sampson who thinks that the pictures taken before, in this case during the 19th century are also an amazing way to leave a good memory.

Jenny Sampson is a girl who has been in love with photography since she was young, she enjoys capturing photos to make moments immortal. Her vintage-style of photography is leaving its mark on skateboarding, perhaps because of the way she takes them, or her different way of expressing our lifestyle and the essence of skate.

Sampson is from Berkeley, California. There, you will find enormous parks, restaurants and landscapes like the bay that is shared with San Francisco and other cities.

About the skateboarding community in this place, it has great skateparks like Holborn Park, Berkeley Skate Park, Treasure Island Skatepark, which help to continue expanding the skateboarding community there.






Her Art Through a Classical Technique


In 2017, Jenny began her project and converted it into a public gallery through different digital platforms like Instagram, where everyone will see what she lived and the meaning of each photo.

Without action, she got to show the essence of skateboarding through people that we are always going to recognize as our second family. The people who are always with us sharing the same passion for skating and forever fortifying our bond as a community.

So getting captured with Sampson's lens would be an amazing experience, you just have to wait and stay motionless for a while to get a good result as tintype, melainotype, or ferrotype is her way of capturing her pictures.

As a result of a vintage effect, she creates a direct positive during a long exposure, the picture is a little bit dark and doesn't distinguish colors. This means that each skater has to stay motionless for at least 5 minutes.


Sampson mixes contemporary and modern art. Contemporary because of the technique to take the picture, it mimicks the process of a 19th-century photo, when just the bourgeois could have them; modern because of the moment, the skaters and the skateboard didn't exist in that era.

Jenny makes photos seem like they are not of these times, the colors and textures look very old but skateboarding and body detail make a clear image and representation of the modernity, and even better, of skateboarding.

A huge part of Jenny's project is published on her Instagram profile, "historical photographic process, film and member of the Rolls and Tubes Collective" her description says. In 2017 her posts started with a picture of Amy Ram, Sampson captured photos of skaters like Leo Baker, Vanessa Torres, Elissa Steamer, Shari White and so many more.

In October of this year, she launched her book called, “Skaters”, her first appearance in a gallery was at the end of the same month. After that she showed her project in three other galleries as well. In her first book, she showed her experiences around the skateparks she visited and the skaters there.


Where Can You Find her Historical Project?

On her profile, you find content inspired in what she lives and thinks about each location and the photographers are mentioned by name, place, year and a message if she feels inspired, here's one example:

“'Angel, Richmond, 2016' from my Skater series. Wet plate collodion tintype made on location at West Coast skateparks. Angel had this lovely face, gentle smile, he was quiet and seemingly confident and a great skater. Got up my guts to ask for a portrait— I had an idea for a ‘pose’ but so did he. Their ideas always win," Sampson said on her post.

On her reel prevail the girls, maybe because she is a girl, but that doesn't mean that she maintains a balance between both genders. However, this year Jenny has been working on capturing skater girls.

She told California Sun that there nowadays are more parents trusting in their kids to skate. "Skateboarding has just become a much more open sport in a way," she said.

Even though, Jenny named her first book 'skaters', she was inclusive and showed who is behind those amazing tricks and fame. Furthermore, she is working on her next project that is going to be focused on all the women, the book will be called "Skater Girls."

We are excited to see what's coming for this girl who has put her heart and soul into her own project.


Differences among the past and the present are a many, but what we should really care about is to not forget all the things we had to go through to be right here and what others had to do for us to enjoy skateboarding like we do in this day and age.

We have many chances on our hands, we can express what we think and be supported because of that. We can work hard on our own projects and gather results soon if we do it right. People like Jenny Sampson proves that art can be everywhere, especially in skateboarding.


Read also: Country of Jordan Proves That Skateboarding is for Everyone

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