As part of the Öctagon movie premiere night on 19/01/2015, we’ve asked the French skateboarder & photographer Maxime Verret a few questions about his work and the Öctagon-related photographs that will be exhibited in the Urban Spree Galerie.
How did you start skateboarding?
Like many people, skateboard came naturally into my life. I was like, 10 years old and I met a bunch of guys with their boards on the street and it just whooshed me! Trying out some ollies was just an amazing thing to do! Later, a neighbour lent me a VHS tape about skaters and I was hooked, it became obsessional. At the same time, my brother bought the video game of a well-known skater at that time… I was just into it! Since 12 years now, skateboard is part of my everyday life.
What brought you to photography?
Photography came also naturally. I was paying a lot of attention to the photographs in skateboarding magazines, you know when you’re a kid, it’s just the right stuff to dream about, so at some point I started to shoot my friends when we were practicing. As time went by, I became more serious about it and started to think about the technique, the composition, the dynamics of the image and all.
Later, I became interested in photography in a broader way, I was digging the photojournalists, artists, I was going to see exhibitions, getting some photobooks as well… I was starting to realize the potential of what photography had to offer. After high school, I studied photography, which enabled me to think about my first photographic series, without necessarily giving away on skateboard.
Your photographic work is not necessarily linked to skateboard. Your work shows an inclination for architecture, shapes & urban signs, topographics and portraits. However, would you say that your skateboarding practice was critical in shaping your vision?
My photographic vision is somehow influenced by my skateboarding practice. When I’m skating, walking or travelling, I’m constantly searching for the right scene, the right idea, in the same way as a skater is endlessly searching for the right spot for his tricks. It’s a bit trite to say but as a skater, we always analyze the environment, we spend a lot of time outdoors, skating in an urban and sometimes derelict environment. Maybe that’s the reason why our vision of the city and landscapes is sharper. It certainly developed my curiosity for the way people get to know their environment and appropriate their surroundings.
You also publish zines. How important are printed matters to you?
So far, I’ve published only one photozine, « Addicts« , self-published in a limited edition of 30 copies, a selection of photos of my daily life with my friends, on our skateboards, partying, travelling… After accumulating some materials, I thought it was time to produce something of my own, showing the ever fresh sensations that keep us doing what we do, like it was the first day.
Publishing is an important step to me in my creating process, it gives a different light to my images, how to build a story, a universe, and possibilities of the medium are infinite!
Which series are you exhibiting in Berlin and what can you tell us about it.
The exhibition will present the environment in which the Öctagon video was shot. In Tokyo for example, we found ourselves in a modern environment, whose culture is also quite different from the West. Ive tried to capture the interactions that skateboard could create in the cityscape, or simply the daily life that unfolded before me.
Urban Spree presents the Premiere of the movie on Monday, January 19th, 2015 at 22:30 after the exhibition.
Exhibition: 19:00 // Movie: 22:30 // Afterparty: 23:00