You are here: Home » Issue 81 November 1989 » Classic Concrete: Rodga Harvey, Rom Skatepark Snake Run

Rodga Harvey Rom Skatepark Snake Run September 1989This was one of those “photographer’s photographs” which was included because it was a personal favourite. It’s unusual because it was shot with a telephoto lens to give a condensed perspective effect, when my normal vision used wide-angle lenses in an attempt to give the viewer a sense of involvement in the scene. My interest here was in the shapes of the concrete — part of a recurring “just waves in space” theme which underlies most of my photographs.

(“Just waves in space” was originally a line in Nic Roeg’s film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. The specific reference there was to television, but it struck a chord with me and resonated in a way which I interpret in a much broader sense. So there you go.)

From a skate point of view, the significance here is that glorious seventies concrete shape, courtesy of Skateparks Construction. Who better to exploit it than Rodga Harvey, whose skate home was the west London equivalent at Harrow?

Harrow itself can be seen in the top right picture which features Ian Gunner skating the moguls. Our paths crossed again later. Gunner went on to play a major part in turning DC Shoes into a mass market brand while working for New Deal. Meanwhile I worked as a back-room boy trying to keep things together as that particular rocket took off.

Other pictures show Jim Murphy at Southsea and Ged Wells in a slow-shutter blur at Stockwell courtesy of Jay Podesta. On another photography note, the picture of Ged is equally rare within the history of R.a.d in that there’s no fill-in flash involved!

And why did we rely so heavily on slow shutter and fill-in “flash-and-blur”? Style? No… necessity. The British weather meant that this was often the only way to guarantee printable results, so we all endlessly explored variations on the technique. Having said “variations”, the reality is that a very high percentage would have been 1/15s at f5.6 on Fuji Velvia!

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