Name: Gordon A. Timpen
Location: Hamburg, Germany (When not travelling)
Years skating: During a three year time-out traveling the coasts of southern Europe in a campervan, I started surfing and found my love in riding boards. Back in Hamburg in 2006, I really missed the ocean and I was looking for alternatives because I needed to bridge the wave-free time in city-life. I joined the Hamburg longboard community “beastyboard” and co-founded the registered longboard association “Rollsport Hamburg e.V.”. In 2010 we set up the first skateboarder-cross in Germany. In 2012 there will be a second edition.
Years shooting: 20 years ago I did an apprenticeship as a photographer. After that I started to work as a motion picture stills photographer, which is still my professional occupation. I started taking longboard shots just two years ago. The lack of good longboard shots and the growing skills of Hamburg‘s riders nudged me to start the sequence ¡stoked!.
How did you get into photography?: My search for a professional occupation led me to photography. This was a reasonable choice, allowing me to not spoil my hobby with financial pressure. With the longboard pix I could at last link my passion to my profession.
What inspires you?: I like to work with creative people. I love it when the shooting turns into a “ping pong game”. I want the picture to evolve with the people I‘m photographing. I don’t like to impose ideas. This way of working allows me to better reveal the essence of the peoples’ characters.
What kind of gear do you like to shoot with? I‘m a Nikon user. On set I work with a sound-blimp to reduce the shutter sound of the cam. Due to low light, most of the time I work with fixed focal length. To be more flexible for the longboard shots, I use a high-speed telephoto zoom combined with three SB900 flashlights. The use of the long lens focuses the photograph on the rider’s athletics and reduces the image structure. This spans a bridge between the quiet of the moment and the aesthetics of this high-paced sport.
Any advice to fellow photographers? Watch the background and create a depth in your image structure! First learn the craftsmanship and then start to create your own style. Remember: whoever wants to shoot blurry pix, must learn to shoot sharp ones first!
Favorite story behind a photo: A really good experience was the shooting of the night session. With the “beasty-boarders”, a loose gathering of the local longboarders in Hamburg, I organized a night session in mid-November 2011. We brought up a generator and set up some lights in the trees in a lonely right-handed corner of a public park and waited for the sun to go down. Helping hands from everywhere joined in to make this project happen. It was an amazing feeling of belonging together and sharing the spirit and enthusiasm of longboarding. This is what you can see in the pix and in the flick. Due to the fact that the sun goes down early in winter, we shredded the corner in the freezing cold until 8pm, but it felt like 3am.
Who have you shot for/where has your work been published? In addition to the German movie production and distribution companies:
Skateonline (br ?) / Heelside (Australia) / Wheelbase Mag (USA) / Longboardism (Canada) / Achterdeck Mag (Germany) / UD Mag (France) / All Around Skate (Great Britain) / Skate[Slate] (USA)
I want to thank the to the guys who believe in me and supported my work: Marvin Thine, Kurt Nischel, Marcus Bandy, Gbemi Ogunkeye, and of course Justus Zimmerly.
Thanks for spreading the stoke!
Click to see more in the Behind the Lens series