Documenting 50 years of skate culture

New exhibition Against the Grain explores skateboarding and the camera. We speak to curator Jaime Marie Davis about skating’s transformation over the past five decades, and why there needs to be better representation of women in the sport

Skateboarding began life in 50s California, when a bunch of surfers decided to create a new activity for when there weren’t any waves around: sidewalk surfing. Since then, skating has grown to encompass so much more than just a sport, spawning countless cult magazines including Thrasher and fashion empires like Palace.

A new exhibition opening in London is looking at the the work of people behind the lens of the movement all over the world, many of whom also happen to be deeply ingrained in skate culture on a personal level. Spanning five decades’ worth of material, the show includes works by director Spike Jonze and photographer Mike O’Meally. Here, co-curator Jaime Marie Davis discusses skating’s status as an outsider sport and why photographing it is about so much more than capturing the ‘peak action shot’.

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