DIY/Underground Skateparks

“DIY/Underground Skateparks” is full of stunning colour photographs of DIY skateparks from around the world. These photos reveal an authentic, unsentimental view of an often over glamorised subculture.

DIY can be described as a movement within skateboarding which operates outside civic and societal norms. Through the utilisation of skater-constructed spaces, which are ordinarily, an adaptation of existing, but often abandoned, terrain in both urban and rural settings, the modern skateboarder transcends the need to exist within a more conventional environment.

Irish photographer and skateboarder Richard Gilligan spent four years traveling through Europe and the US to photograph homemade skateparks. The resulting photographs are not your run-of-the-mill action shots filled with miraculous body moves, slashes, twists, and turns. Instead, Gilligan chooses to focus on the sport’s “negative space.” The out-of-the-way concrete embankments; nondescript suburban lots where kids come to practice; a simple wooden ramp so insubstantial that no one but a skateboarder would recognise its use. Many of these photographs can be appreciated as unique, if prosaic, landscapes, but Gilligan also populates his pictures with skaters at rest, smoking alone, hanging out together, or walking home board in hand. The images offer a grittily beautiful tribute to the ineffable hunger that unites all skateboarders – young, old, rich, poor. In these photographs Gilligan realises the act of skating represents more than a quest for glory, but a means of self-expression.

Almost everywhere I go, I skate before I shoot unless it´s lashing rain or I´m under time pressure. I try to give myself enough time to really look at what exists around the location itself and I will usually make a conscious decision to include this background information even if it is in a subtle, quiet way. I try to figure out how I can make this interesting as a photograph, not just as a photograph of a skatepark”. Richard Gilligan, from the interview with Paul Seawright, published in the DIY/Underground Skateparks book

My reaction from reading the book:

Although this is a photo book there are two interesting introductions written by Jocko Weyland (Chipped Teeth)  and Ian Borden (A World Apart). I was also surprised to find an interesting interview with Richard Gilligan, which gives better insight into his work presented in this book. After looking through photos I got an urge to go and build something and I really liked that photo of the Covoland in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois in France. And just as a reminder: this is just a collection of some DIY/Skateparks around the world that Richard had visited. 

The back cover:

” To build, and ride what they build, and not have any law but their own, for the whole process from the first pour to the last and onwards into the future…. That´s the freedom inherent and essential in all these locales, a quality in short supply these days, happening and thankfully obtainable in the general yet very specific natural and man-made landscapes celebrated herein.”

Jocko Weyland

© Richard Gilligan: DIY/Underground Skateparks



Do you want to know more?

Go to Confusion magazine if you want to find some of the DIY skateparks featured in this book

Richard Gilligan´s website

Another review

Interview: Richard Gilligan on DIY



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