In between testing some product for 2011 and launching the new Street and Field range at Photokina we managed to catch up with UK Loweprofessional Percy Dean to talk about his recent work trip to China.
So Percy tell me about this trip to China?
China was un-believable… Probably one of the best trips I have ever been on, from the people that we met to the people we travelled with. It was just one of those dream come true scenarios. Vans Footwear had commissioned me to shoot a photographic document of their European team as they journeyed around the world collating their ‘1966’ skateboard DVD; the project developed into a book that will accompany the films release.
How was it taking pictures on the streets?
It was good for me because the people we encountered were so amazed by the skateboarding that they didn’t really pay much attention to me or the camera, but for the skaters it was hard having crowds in their hundreds amass every time they skated a spot.
When you’re setting up for a skate shot do you have a clear idea of what result you are looking for?
I have shot skateboarding for 18 years and so I have the visual wreckage of thousands of skateboarding pictures already in my head. The battle is to not be repetitive in my set-up, to make things not look the same. It’s also difficult to make the images about more than ‘just a skateboard trick’. Skateboarding to me is about where the culture of skateboarding and the real world collide; trying to represent that, and make a good ‘skateboard picture’ is a difficult procedure.
What kit have you been using out in the field?
I got a Classified 250 AW in my Lowepro package and have used it to death. It was weird to switch from my usual backpack to a shoulder mount, but now I couldn’t be without it. The Nikon D700, with a grip for sequences is my workhorse, the low light capabilities are invaluable to me when trying to shoot high speed in difficult circumstances. That speed problem is also solved by a bunch of Pocket Wizards and small Nikon Speedlights. I just need to make my kit tight and light… Skating around cities with a full load is no joke. When you’ve hit a few curbs at full blast and had a surplus of gear hit you in the back of the head enough times you soon learn how to downsize.
What else are you up to at the moment?
I currently have an exhibit called ‘Clouds Of Glory’ running at the Brighton Photo Fringe that the Arts Council kindly supported I also have a couple of interesting documentary projects on the boil and have been shooting a lot of HD, I feel like a kid again when I use video, its so exiting.
To find our more about Percy Dean and his photography check out his site here
To find out details of his current ‘Clouds of Glory’ Exhibition click here.