Topic: Skate Park (2 posts)

Skate Park Redux

I spent much of the winter 2014 living in Santa Rosa, CA. I rented a wonderful little house on the top of a ridge overlooking two valleys. I photographed a lot. One of the projects that resulted was called "Skate Park". I wrote about it here. The final pictures are also on the gallery page of the site here. The series starts out in a brutalist manner and softens as it progresses through into an orgy of graffiti. It is comprised of photographs from three different skate parks in the area, the primary one being in Healdsburg.

All this history is as a preamble to something I started to work on closer to home. The City of Cambridge, where I live, has its first skate park under the elevated highway close to the Science Museum and it is a big hit.

It is called the Lynch Family Skate Park and it looks like this:

It opened last weekend.

Photo Credit: Christopher Baldwin for the Boston Globe. The rest of the pictures are mine.

It is a dramatic place for a skate park as it is where much of Boston's traffic collides. You can see I-93 from the north overhead on the ramp merging with RT 1. The Zakim bridge can be seen in the background. It is also where the trains arrive at North Station and where the locks are that control the height of the water at the base of the Charles River as it exits into Boston Harbor. It's a busy place. Oh yes, also in there is the Science Museum, Spaulding Rehabilitation Center and the infamous Leverett Circle, the site of more traffic jams than anyone wants to remember.

As I am becoming able to move again since hip surgery a few weeks ago I found myself headed to the area with a camera to see what it was like. 

I found poetry, dance and chaos in about equal measure. Skate boarders, of course, but roller blades, bikes. I even saw one of those small wheeled scooters and a guy in a wheelchair! What a strong contrast from the pictures I made in CA. Those were unpopulated and about form and fluidity and a very particular way of seeing. 

To be coming off of something as debilitating as being unable to walk a few weeks ago to this complete opposite was like a breath of fresh air. The place exuded life.

What a complete blast.

Of course, I couldn't ignore that there was form (along with bright late November sunlight) at the new skate park too:

so I went back on a weekday in the early morning to explore the park a little more:

How could I resist?

Stay tuned for more.

Topics: Skate Park

Permalink | Posted November 24, 2015

Skate Park Take 2

Okay, I can hear you now:  "Enough already with the skate parks!" but I really do have to add something to the one already posted, the Healdsburg Skate Park.

I found another one, this one a much more typical skate park. A more typical one combines all those wonderful concrete curves, hills and valley, dips and things to jump over, with, you guessed it: graffiti.

In this case young artistic expression run amok. Total chaos in an orgiastic display of colors and design by spray cans used without restraint. So cool.

What I loved most about this place, besides its sheer exuberance, was how the paint totally subverted the form lying underneath. In some of the pictures, you can't really tell what the underlying shape is.

As I worked around the park and the afternoon wore on I could see that back light was going to play a role:

like the broad back of some sea monster lying in the sun:

I can hear it coming, you saying a few months from now: "Yeah, Rantoul lost it that winter he went out to California and started shooting skate parks. He got so into it, it was all he was talking about. And the pictures? Totally whacked. You know, no one's heard from him since? I bet he's still out there shooting those parks. Poor guy."

When I posted the Healdsburg blog (Skate Park) a friend wrote back and said "Wheat Fields!"meaning that the way I was seeing these was very much the way in which I photograph the wheat fields in Washington (Wheat 2011). I have used form to make content, used shape to denote space, used pattern for emphasis, used tonality and color to convey emotion, used light to deepen and used repetition of forms to deny and reinforce spatial relationships for a very long time and do not plan on stopping any time soon. 

Do you think I'm finished with these, think we can now move on? Not bloody likely as I'm on a roll and having way too much fun.  BTW: this one is in a park in Santa Rosa on Fulton Street right across from the high school.


Topics: Skate Park,Wheat,Northwest,Color,Digital

Permalink | Posted March 2, 2014