Tag: Place 57

How does it feel to be so well connected that you can go to any location in the world and be at home? That might be a bit hyperbolical, but I feel like whenever I go somewhere, Sara is just right around the corner, and always surrounded by her friends and family. I would say that there is no one in our whole community, which is skateboarding, with a “family” as big and even a surname (Parson-Texas) as widespread as Sara. Sara has a big heart and is always sporting a smile on her face; once you’ve met her, it is impossible to forget her charisma. I talked to a few people from the industry to see if anyone has ever profiled her in an interview or article, and it seems like that we have all been slacking off, guys. I mean all of you. We went over to hang out where Sara lives, and she told us that she hadn’t left the house for three days. This is not an interview but a documentary about a afternoon at the Parson-Texas building. Here is the first feature with Sara. Enjoy.

As Henrik and I entered the apartment, Sara and her sister Moonia (not actually blood related) are using an old slideshow projector to look at photos of Sara’s dad and uncle following a nomadic tribe through an Asian desert about 30 years ago. We sat down on the couch in the living room to join in on the wonderful story. Sara told me that her dad had an exhibition in Paris with the photos, and that they had “mad sponsors” for their trip. Some of their images actually looked like scenery shots out of a Wes Anderson movie– I was quite impressed and immediately understood where Sara’s zest for action comes from. While my eyes were scanning through the living room, they stopped at a bottle with an inlaid snake inside. I didn’t even really question why, but I was caught, and I walked toward the corner where the snake was sitting in the bottle. “Oh yeah – the snake! That thing came out of nowhere. We actually just bought it because it was on sale. Unfortunately it died a few weeks later, because of a cold.” In that moment, I realized that I had yet to turn on the voice recorder to document our afternoon.

We were listening to a playlist of French and German female new wave, post punk just as I started to record our conversation:

by Daniel Pannemann
Photos: Biemer


(Sara is talking about the preparation for the next Shitfootmongoland) “… and I think if we would print the whole conversation, that we have had with Irvine for year and a half it would be worth a book… we really have fun doing it. It’s a good thing for everyone! We all go crazy for like a good two weeks. Working our asses off. But it is totally worth it.”

When do you start working on it?

Yeah, I mean… we already started, kind of. There is always shit to do. There is going to be a mini ramp this year and they’ve already started making plans et cetera. There is more space this year, and they have a new garden as well, so we are trying to get more people to show stuff, more exhibitions and shows. It’s going to be cool! They are also building a new wall inside the gallery, so there is more space to hang things. We are also trying to get Richard “French” Sayer involved in the whole project, he just had a show in Sydney I believe. He’s so sick!

How is it working with Pascal? (Owner of Urban Spree)

I feel like it took a while until it finally clicked and we had to get used to everything as well, but now it’s like easy, I’m just asking like “Oh, hey can we do this and that?” And he’s just like “…of course, no worries.” He’s very hooked on street art. And usually those people can be a little weird. But Pascal is cool, haha!

That’s exactly the Pascal I know. What do you mean with street art?

I don’t know, I kind of hate the people that do street art. They can be so weird. But it’s more like the scene. I have a lot of friends doing street art actually and they are cool and they don’t give a shit. But there are some people who are really into it and they are the worst people. I had an American friend over from Oceanside, he was doing a show with Lucas Beaufort. And he was invited to this street art festival at Teufelsberg in Berlin and so we went together. We came there and literally 80% of the people were the biggest assholes! I was seriously so shocked. I can’t even really explain myself. Maybe it’s because they are between contemporary art and urban whatever-bullshit-weird-stuff, haha. But they all think that they are the shit. People are not really nice. But, yeah… fuck it! Urban Spree is going to be nice! I hope a lot of people will come!


I think you guys proved your point now. People will give you more and more credit, because you survived and you are still going. And that usually takes a lot of time!

Yeah, there are lots of new brands coming as well. And people that tried to come last year are coming for sure this time. Because last year everything was very last-minute. They didn’t really have that much time to decide. People had their doubts about how it’s going to be and know they could make a picture of the whole scenery. It became such a big thing, though. It was a good shit show, haha.

How is the relationship with BRIGHT?

Yeah, I mean it’s cool. Of course, because Julian Dykmans, our friend, is working with them. And at first we met up to decide whether or not to come together and work in conjunction. But it think we have a different approach and work ethic. We are totally different anyway, and that is cool. But that’s the thing. It is not a competition at all! I heard people starting to call it “the anti BRIGHT” and shit. And that never ever came from us! But, if you wanna call it that, I mean you can do whatever you like. We call it Shitfootmongoland! Haha.

How the hell did you get that name actually?

Alex came up with that. He said something between the lines of “ah, that shitfootmongoland blabla…” Let’s just leave it like that. And for a few months we just called it like that for fun. But then there was a point at which I started the whole artwork for the events and I was like “…ok, guys! How the fuck do should we call it now? What is the name?” And nobody came up with a name! Haha. We had no idea. And then at some point we just thought about actually calling it Shitfootmongoland – we had no idea, like what the fuck!? Haha. Skate-fair bullshit Berlin!? – No way. And this is how it came out – pretty stupid. And now people just call it Shitfoot, that’s good. Haha!

As we were talking, we wandered around the room and found her work space, which is the definition of an organized mess. We took down some curtains to take a few photos.


Henrik: Can you switch the seats, Daniel and Sara?

Yeah of course, is this better?

Henrik: This is where you work?

Yeah, I mean for now I’m working in the living room because of friend is living in the studio. There is so much stuff laying around. In my room as well, there is so much shit!

Where do you store all your photos?

Ehm, there are a couple of boxes here, and some are in my bedroom. Let me see, I can bring them all over… I have a lot of them printed already, in this small French format. Which looks so cool! Almost like a Polaroid or something. It’s this weird size that makes it look cool I think. I’m looking at a table of at least a thousand photographs and a couple of unopened boxes with probably the same amount.

These are all yours?

Yeah, and there is more. For sure! Actually it’s cheaper to let them have developed in Paris. I always try to bring a lot of films back to Paris, whenever I go and bring back some copies.
The format is nice, it makes you want to keep them! Everyone goes to this one camera store to develop their shit, even for big exhibitions. It’s so much better and super cheap!

I thought everything is more expensive in Paris, right!?

Yeah, usually it is but for that kind of thing it’s cheaper! Here, in Germany, if you get your film developed they all look like they have been in your backpack for at least a decade and as if you took the shots on a school trip. They have this look, you know! Even if you go to that one funny one, which smells like dog inside, I think it’s called Foto Braun. It’s actually not that nice, compared to the one in Paris.I was going through a lot of copies, and she didn’t mind. She said that it’s a mess anyway. The Photographs show a lot of portraits of her friends, in between a shooting for KREW in London, in Helsinki, in Paris, in New York, in the French countryside at a wedding. Looking at all of the images you can, over and over again that Sara knows a lot of people, and more importantly, that people enjoy being around her. She has an eye for a good moment and the fundamental intuition to capture it. In between Sara’s images of friends and family, you will find Evan Smith, Marius Syvanen & Wes Kremer, who for Sara are also family. I stopped browsing the images when I came across a photograph of a castle.
From the back Moonia screems: “This is Chateau de Parson-Texas!” (laughs)

It’s going to be hard to only pick a few shoots for this article, Sara.

I don’t know, but there is more, haha. There is a lot of different stuff.

While we were talking about photography, Moonia started to prepare a few things to tattoo Johannes Schirrmeister (The Guy with the BS Smith in our David Hockney article).


Moonia: Sara has her own way of organization. You think it’s a mess, but it actually all makes sense. That one time she went away, and she left all her stuff in my room. So, I decided to just clean it all up, try to organize it and everything. But then, when she came back, she got super angry because she couldn’t find shit! I totally destroyed her organization.

Sara shows me her very first films. 

Look at that, this is Paris in ’95! And this is me. (laughs)

This could be today actually!

Yeah, because it’s Paris. I still know all of them. This one guy you see there, he ‘s in Jail. But we still have contact. He’s got his Facebook account, an iPhone and everything. He’s actually doing fine I think, haha.

Usually I find it very uncomfortable to go through another person’s stuff, but with Sara it seems to be cool. She doesn’t care and she seemed to be hyped to show me her life. The doorbell rang and it was the postman.

There was a time, when our house was just full of boxes. Since we live on the first floor and no one seems to open their door, we get all the packages for this building and the one next to ours. From each and every floor. He knows that there is always someone here, so he just drops all the boxes off at our door. The worst time is Christmas, man. I think you can imagine, haha. But the guy is cool, it was ok for us. We got the space! That’s a good way to get to know to your neighbors, haha. We know them all now! We always have company!

Talking about company, I think this is probably the most important thing for the whole Parson-Texas movement. Spreading positive energy and keeping friends and family close.
We had a few more conversations until Johannes came to the door to get inked. We all went through tattoo books to get inspiration from artists of the 1950’s. For me it was a pretty crazy afternoon, but I kind of got the feeling that for Sara, it was just another casual day.


Do you remember your first roommate? The one-of-a-kind mess he could leave behind? The mess that only one person could bring into this world? This is the portrait of your roommate. The tomato sauce on the dishes, the coffee stains on the kitchen table: All of this is a unique expression of someone’s past presence.

The same goes for a photo, for example. I explained it a lot of people like this. Look at a Danny Sommerfeld photograph. There are plenty of shots in this issue. Very often, besides dogs, old people, and bananas, you see Danny himself in the shots, although he’s not physically present in the photos. He brings the moment to life in his own way of capturing it.

A portrait doesn’t have to be a mug shot or a full body shot. It can be a lot of things. You can take a portrait of a landscape as well as of a war, or of a situation or even one of love.
We gave this issue as much personality as possible while keeping ot dreamy and abstract. This issue is about each and every character in our world that we find interesting enough to feature, allowing the subjects the space they deserve to shine.

For our “One From Five” article, we asked five photographers if they could send in one photo. The only allowance was the world of a “portrait” as a guideline. The first reaction from all of them was, “yeah, of course. That’s easy.” Five days later it turned out to be the most difficult task ever. “Only one shot?” they came back asking. “Yup, just one!” We responded.
You’ll find the result in the pages of this issue. For the longest time I wanted to print an interview without a single word in it. Just because most of the time the skater is not able to catch up with his body language. A good photo can be ruined by only a couple of words. Here’s Dane Brady from Portland/Oregon, with the first interview, with both question and answer captured in just the photograph, minus the typical skater chitchat. That’s all you need, if you bring as much to the table as Mr. Brady does. Same goes for Jerry Hsu, Sara Parson Texas, Giorgi Armani or K-Rod & Jon, a piece that even has a romantic twist to it.

All of these people are easy to draw because they have such a strong character. Give it a try: Draw your person of choice, in your eyes, buoyant with character, and you will know what I mean.
The guy featured on this issue’s cover might be new to you, but for us his visual presence had a big impact on this issue. Almost like a muse, he appears throughout this issue. For us, he’s pretty easy to draw. Get the point?
Alright guys, get your pens out and we all hope you will enjoy this issue. Thank you!

by Daniel Pannemann
Photos: Matt Price



Emile Laurent


When we came up with the idea to make an issue about the different approaches of how to portray or depict a person’s identity and character, we thought about the possibility of psychoanalysis early on. More precisely, we considered the method of personality tests seemed to be an interesting field for our concerns.

A person who, on the one hand, is primarily specialized in analyzing people, but on the other unfamiliar with our subject and the world of skateboarding, would probably offer a whole different perspective on a person’s character than interviews usually tend to do.

To lessen the ease of the task a bit, we chose a test person with a very unique appearing character: Giorgi Balkhamishvili. I have personally known Giorgi for a very long time now. We grew up together – I can only barely remember the times before we entered one another’s lives, and we always have remained very close friends. I would argue that Giorgi has a character that is very complex and thus hard to read, especially for someone not knowing him. Even today, although I have known him for so many years and am prepared for every unthinkable quirk of Giorgi’s infamous “five minutes,” he still manages to surprise me from time to time, causing me to ask myself once again if I really know him as well as I think I do. The funny thing is, I always have the feeling that Giorgi secretly enjoys these moments when his actions confuse people, particularly his close friends. Having said this, I was really curious about what this whole experiment would result in. I was interested in how the questions would look like and how precisely one would be able to draw conclusions from the answers.

The personality test we used contained 100 questions that one had to answer with one out of five levels of accuracy, from very accurate to very inaccurate. The questions all followed a similar pattern – They were rather short and aimed at deciphering, or revealing, different character traits: “Do you seldom daydream?” “When you hang out with a group of people, are you bothered by at least one of them?” “Do you know how to get around the rules?” “Do you have a dark outlook on the future?” On top, there were some cognitive ability questions included as well: “Miriam and Adam went fly fishing and caught 32 salmons. Miriam got three times more than Adam. How many did Adam get?” Due to the fact that the test was kind of more a self-assessment, the psychologist included a personal interview at the very beginning in order to get some background information on what sort of context Giorgi’s later answers would be based on. The whole procedure took about three hours and Giorgi patiently answered each question truthfully.

From my point of view, the result was amazingly close to what my own impression of Giorgi is. Moreover, which was less surprising for me than for the analyst, Giorgi’s personality results indeed ended up differing quite a bit from the so-called “average” person. But no worries, at the end of the session, he was allowed to leave the building without subjected to a white straightjacket!

Intro by Paul Röhrs
Photos: Danny Sommerfeld


Meeting Giorgi Armani
by Roos Cornelius, Psychology (Bsc), Philosophy of Social Science (BA)

I first met Giorgi Balkhamishvili on the 29th of May, in Berlin. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and countless amounts of pollen were wafting from tree to tree, declaring the end of Spring just as I arrived to the place where we would meet.

Giorgi told me he moved from Georgia to Berlin with his parents when he was only six months old. Growing up un a creative environment (both his parents are artists) and with the streets of Berlin as a background, he discovered skateboarding at the age of twelve. Although both his arms were bruised when we met, he described skating as a weightless feeling of endless possibilities. He was sure to let me know, before making a jump, he sometimes taps three times on the ground with his skateboard to prevent him from falling too hard. Giorgi also told me about how he does not drink alcohol, but that one time he drank four liters of beer in one night just to win a bet. Most interestingly, Giorgi admitted that he likes to play with the idea of being in prison – a curious desire for someone who has never even committed a felony… At least, as of yet. One might wonder what character could be behind such thoughts. In the following section, I will attempt to capture a glimpse of Giorgi’s personality.

Results with handwritten comments

Inside Giorgi Armani
by Roos Cornelius, Psychology (Bsc), Philosophy of Social Science (BA)

To assess Giorgi’s personality, I used an online personality test. Just as most personality tests, it focuses on the basic dimensions of one’s personality, such as extraversion, honesty, and emotional stability. Although a personality test is never flawless, this semi-scientific inventory is designed to be objective. Hence, the results may not necessarily be flattering to whom the data concerns. What secrets could it reveal about Giorgi’s personality?
First of all, the test indicated that he possesses some very admirable character traits. His results show that he scored exceedingly high on modesty. This means his personality bestows him with a humble attitude, both toward others and toward his own accomplishments. In addition, Giorgi scored high on compassion. Compassion is characterized by the ability to recognize the emotions of others. The result suggested that he might be sensitive to social conflicts that exist in his surroundings. Giorgi’s results also indicated that he has a strong capacity to feel sympathy for others.

Another interesting hint we may take from the test results concerns the fact that Giorgi scored curiously low on honesty. This indicates that he might be prone to mislead others, especially those who represent considerable authority. This also suggests that he tends to be less troubled by rule-breaking behavior. He might also be considered more creative, since he is less concerned with following established rules. Giorgi also scored particularly low in the realm of conscientiousness. His results implied that he has a tendency to live in the moment and to act on what feels good. He does not pay much attention to detail and probably has a laid back attitude in general. As a result, some might perceive him as a little careless, maybe even disorganized.
Lastly, Giorgi scored remarkably high on boldness. Boldness represents the ability to face uncertain or even threatening situations with confidence. His results suggested that he is able to face uncertain circumstances with emotional stability. Some emotionally stable individuals may go as far seeking out thrilling situations, because they perceive these situations to be less threatening than most people.

To conclude, I would say Giorgi has a creative personality that tends to avoid rules, but one that yearns to take risks. His character consists of qualities that seem to be ever in search of the next jump, the next thrilling moment, before looping back touching solid ground again.

The test that was used for this article is part of the online SAPA Project, initiated by William Revelle (Northwestern University, Illinois). The test can be found on www.sapa-project.org


The test was quite intense. I had to think about questions that I usually wouldn’t have bothered myself with. In the end, I had the feeling that my hair had turned grey. Ain’t shocking. – Giorgi Armani 

While making this issue, we made a list of possible articles. Each one of these articles needed to be a portrait of some sort. So when Manuel Schenck asked us if we wanted to interview Kevin, we wanted it to be a portrait of a special bond, a portrait of a friendship, and that is where Jon’s story comes in. Most of you have probably heard the name Kevin Rodrigues before, but some of you may have yet to come across the name Jon Monie, unless you are french, of course.

Before we traveled to Paris to work on the Parisian issue, we did not know that much about Jon. We started to hear his name mentioned here and there, but not much more. Eventually, while in Paris, we ended up meeting him one night at Chéz Justine, where he works. We started talking and he ended up telling us a couple of stories about young Kevin. Jon basically saw Kevin grow up (on a skateboard.) They both skated for the same skate shop (Nozbone) and they became friends, a friendship that lasts to this day. The original idea was to show the history behind their friendship, but instead, Jon, Kevin and Manuel Schenck (the interviewer) sat down and created something totally different and unexpected. We don’t really know what to say about it, so we will just let one of our favorite artists speak for us:

“Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity” – Marcel Duchamp

To summarize: we feel strongly about this portrait but in the end it is you, the spectator and reader, who ultimately completes the portrait.

Intro: Roland Hoogwater
Interview & Photos by Manuel Schenck

kev et jon ambiance 1

How did you guys meet each other?

Love begins with the glare of a soul who expected nothing and ends with the disappointment of an ego that demands everything.

Jon, what did you teach Kev?

Where there is a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.

So you gave him some advice?

Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments.

You both differ in age right?

There are days, months, endless years when it happens nothing. There are minutes and seconds that contain a whole world.

What are you doing right now, Jon?

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

Jon Monie – Wallie (April 8th 2010) Photo: Jean Feil

Do you see each other a lot?

In nature, everything always has a reason. If you understand why, you do not need experience.

You work in a bar, Jon. Is it not difficult to not drink too much?

Any obstacle strengthens the determination. He who has set a goal does not change.

You see Jon quite often at the bar, right Kev?

You have to become the man you are. Do what only you can do. Become who you are, be the master and sculptor of yourself.

Kev, you skated for 5boro before you started skating for Polar. How was that change?

Our youth love luxury, have bad manners, mock authority and have no respect for age. In this age, children are tyrants.

Do you still see the guys from 5Boro?

Experience shows that those who have never trusted anyone will ever be disappointed.

How is the Polar family doing?

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but whether we rise every time we fall.

kev wallie grab diptik der 1
Kevin Rodrigues – Wallie FS Grab (December 27th 2015)

Are you working on some new projects?

Diseases that come from the wickedness of a woman’s heart are: disobedience without modesty, anger, backbiting, jealousy and a low intelligence.

You skate for Supreme now. Did that change anything for you concretely?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Back in the day you visited New York together, how was that experience?

We can beat his opponent through love and not hate. Hatred is the most subtle form of violence. Hate injures the hater, not the hated.

What happened with your Instagram account Kev? Are you or are you not in the game?

Others say the secret is treachery, others say it is her foolishness.

What are you doing when you’re not skating, Kev?

I object to violence because when it appears to produce the good, the good that results is only temporary, while the wrong product is permanent.

What do you want to do in the future?

The madman who is chasing the pleasures of life and is disappointed; the wise man avoids evil.

kev et jon ambiance 2

Kev, what would you like to say to Jon?

We do not yet understand life, how could we understand death?

And you Jon, what would you like to say to Kev?

May everyone have a chance to find precisely the way of life that enables him to realize his maximum happiness.

Give me your last words.

Jon – A man should never be ashamed to admit that he is wrong; for in making this confession, he proves that he is wiser today than yesterday. What do you think?

Kev – It is no coincidence; everything is a trial, a punishment, a reward, or a foresight.

Thanks you two. If I may I would like to conclude this interview with a phrase that sums up the whole.

“Stupidity has only two ways of being: It is silent or it speaks. Silent stupidity is bearable. ”

kev rodrigues earlygrab beenplant wallride

Skimming through this issue, a couple of things might have become appartent to you. The biggest question you may have noticed us grappling with is what, in fact, is a portrait, and maybe even more importantly, what constitutes a good portrait, and why? As you continue to browse, you might come to multiple, various conclusions. Each one of these will be an important part of you journey back to this central question; you might find yourself becoming increasingly interested in the way you, the reader, and the people featured in this magazine are trying to relate to this theme of the portrait. Coming back to this question will put you in the same state of mind that we were while brainstorming for this issue.

What constitutes a portrait? The current, most direct way to create one is to take out your phone and take a selfie, a sign of the times once reserved for artists who took the time to recreate their own likeness using more analog forms of art production. Our portraiture inquiries were broad in the early phases of creating this issue: we wondered about objects, whether an object could be a portrait of a person. Could a bed, a MacBook, or an internet browser’s history also constitute a portrait? One could argue, in a sense, that more could be said about a person’s character by scrolling through the chronicle of websites they’ve visited than looking at the way he or she renders his or herself via self-portraiture.

Another important question we tossed around is how can a group portrait be made, something we, as the magazine’s stuff, tried to do. What if we were to hire a detective to follow our interview subjects around for a day? Would that work? Could someone else portray you, or would that create a portrait of you both, in tandem, the portrayer and the portrayed, simultaneously, together, in one piece? All roads seem to lead back to Rome, but that doesn’t mean everybody in Rome took the same route. And that is what we wanted to discover as we brainstormed our way to this article. Five people all received one and the same assignment: Create a portrait in your own way, think about the question, yourself and the medium of photography and create something, whether it be an answer or a reflection on the question.

by Roland Hoogwater

Jonas Hess - Finale - Biemer
Biemer – The Less I Know The Better

steffen diptek
Steffen Grap – Destiny/Hope

Laura Kaczmarek – La Marbella

Hugo Snelooper – Hangover

Cameron Strand – Untitled

“I could do something like this.”

…And you should. There is a thin line between plagerizing and drawing inspiration. Generally, you should ask yourself if you’ve already crossed that line, but rather focus on what is best for your work by naturally developing content, material, and ideas in the process of production. But even if you take an abstract idea and articulate it, putting it in your on words, you will always find people that will see what other work or artist your piece is inspired by.

Our very own Danny Sommerfeld took the idea of David Hockney’s photographic collages and brought it into our world, which is that of skateboarding. While some seem to lose themselves in the photograph, others will always think of hockney’s famous works of classical L.A.: Backyard pools, open roads and cars. As such, in every image you encounter over the next few pages, you’ll also find a little Hockney. And like any other idea you have, there is always someone who might have thought the same, though one way or another, somewhat differently. Even your masters have found their inspiration in other works, just as Hockney sought inspiration from Picasso’s early cubism pieces. He took this idea and brought it into the world of photography.

Take your time to find the beauty in every shot and maybe you’ll find some little hints here and there – odes to photographic masters of yesterday, perhaps some pieces of inspiration for the artists of tomorrow. Nothing is absolutely perfect or unique. Here is to David Hockney:

by Daniel Pannemann
Photos: Danny Sommerfeld

Friends – Bremen, 2016

Farid Ulrich – Betonhausen Berlin, 2016

Johannes Schirrmeister – Alexanderplatz Berlin, 2016

Kai Hillebrand – Spot der Visionäre Berlin, 2016

As I was waiting in front of the HVW8 Gallery in Berlin to meet Jerry Hsu for the first time in my life, I again went over the notes I had written on a rumpled piece of paper. I knew I had to ask the right questions in order to get a deeper impression of who Jerry is and how his mind functions. It began to rain and I had to take cover inside of the gallery, where some of Jerry’s expressive photos had already been hung up on the white walls, while others still were packed in boxes. While looking around, I felt like the whole room was filled with love, while also charged with related but at the same time totally opposite feelings of sadness, and even hints of quiet pain. On one side of the gallery, an adorable naked girl was portrayed sitting in a tub, while on the other side, a man on a lonely street was captured throwing away a fresh bunch of flowers into a trash can while walking by. Somehow Jerry seems to have an eye for quiet and mundane scenes that, on a closer inspection, depict a much deeper theme than what might appear at first glance.

As it turned out, the photography already told me much about Jerry’s character. He is a friendly and calm type of person who was once described by Marc Johnson as “cool breeze”. What was struck me was the way in which he he answered my questions with focus, self-reflection, and consideration. I had initially planned to do an interview that would focus mostly on Jerry’s photography, but as soon as I touched upon the topic of skateboarding, the conversation was guided by Jerry’s excitement in this direction as well.

When we were done with the interview, Danny shot some portraits of Jerry with what seemed like an ancient Polaroid camera. Both photographers naturally started to do some kind of nerd-talk about all sorts of cameras, after which we embarked on a little walk through Berlin, following Jerry as he tried to shoot something with Danny’s Polaroid that we could use for this article. Unfortunately, the camera died after the first shot, but seeing how carefully Jerry scans his environment and searches for motives in order to capture an image was a one-of-a-kind experience.

Interview by Paul Röhrs
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld


Having seen former exhibitions of yours, like “A Table For One,” in which you depict people eating alone, can you describe what your current exhibition, called “A Love Like Mine Is Hard To Find” is concerned with?

This exhibition is sort of a mixture of both my old and new photography, as it is a mixture of my street photography and the kind of the more intimate, sentimental portraits that I do like of my wife, friends and other people. You know, I tried to give the whole thing a certain mood, which is a more sentimental one. I would say it is kind of like a diary, which depicts just my daily life. But furthermore, I wanted to give it a feeling. So it is kind of somber and also kind of a little bit humorous, too, which both I feel like are themes that are in my photos a lot and I just wanted to do a broad sort of exhibition about those things.

If you don’t mind, I would like to get more into detail with this. Tell me some more about the work process. What I am especially interested in is how you decide the moment when you feel like you are finished? You know, because in my imagination, it is really difficult to find a point at which to end a project like this.

Well, for this kind of project I did not shoot anything new specifically for it. So all the photos already existed and I looked at a large selection and tried to find a story in the photos. I kind of looked at the space and just tried to fill it up with just the right amount, you know, like not too much and not too little. So the process of this show is more like in the theme, finding the photos the work well together to send the message that I want to send. So that is how it works as far as like taking the photos, which of course is a totally different process.

So the message is a really personal one?

Yeah, it is like about my love or my obsession with my environment or all the things around me and I tried to interpret those things in a way that hopefully will make sense.

Would you say photography changed the way you perceive the world around you, or did you always have the same way of looking at things and now you just take photos of it/them?

Yeah, I think the photographs are just a manifestation of how I see the world. But let’s say photography has also made me more aware of my environment and it made me more thoughtful about the potential of small things. You know, I try to photograph this a lot, things that are small or settled but that have a life of their own.

What does a situation need in order for you to hit the shutter release on your camera? What inspires you?

I don’t really know! (Laughs) It is funny because I just really try to work on instinct. So a lot of it is just guesswork. Sometimes from a hundred photos that I take there is probably only one that is something I really like. I would say it is a combination of luck, anticipation and hope. I just sort of look around and I kind of know what I like. But sometimes it ends up shit or stupid. (Laughs) You never know what’s going to work so you just have to try a lot and figure it out later. So editing is very important, too, in all forms of art. Not everything you do is going to be good. So you also have to be able to choose what is good. You know what I mean?


Since we always present a concept within every print issue, this one is going to be concerned with the different techniques of how to portray the character of a person. We thought about the idea that in photography, when someone shoots a picture of a scene or even another person, the photographer his or herself is also transmitting his or her own character across into the photo. Would you say this is right? Do you sometimes see your own character within a picture you have taken?

I hope so! (Laughs) Well, I think that that is sort of objective. You know, you always want to create a story or a feeling when you make work like this and usually as a photographer that’s you because it is about you and what you are putting into all this stuff. So one of the most important parts of making art is being able to, well, not inject but sprinkle yourself in. But be settled because you don’t want to be too heavy handed. You know, just sort of gently put yourself into the work. Yeah, that is definitely important to me. So, I have to really stare at stuff and really think about whether it might work for me or not.

Do you think someone has to be born with certain innate talents or character traits in order to be a good photographer, or is it something that can be achieved through practice?

I think a little bit has to do with what you are born with but most of it is just decisions you make in your life. You know, because for me I was more interested in art and stuff when I was very young, probably when I was in grade school. And then becoming a skateboarder you are exposed to so many different types of people, artists, photographers and, you know, just this whole world every skateboarder understands. I think it is mostly about the path you go on in life. I think everyone has a lot of potential but it just depends on their choices in life and in what direction they want to go. I mean for me I just really went for it, you know. I just really experimented and found out that this is something I really enjoyed. So it is less about genetics but more about temperament and personality. I know a lot of people that are great, have great eyes but they don’t want to put themselves out there like that, which is fine, too.

So you mean that the circumstances formed your profession as well as the people you met along the way?

Yeah, I mean you can meet one person in your life and that totally can change your whole perspective about anything, art or work or like whatever, you know.

So you met the right guys and made the right decisions in life?

Yeah, I think so! (Laughs)

Could you name some people that have influenced you in doing what you do today?

Yeah, just from being a skateboarder you naturally meet a lot of photographers and they taught me how to use cameras and they showed me other photographers and so on. I would say, for example, that people like Ed Tempelton were very influential just because he was a skater who also was very interested in and also made a lot of art and photography that then again was interesting to me. So he really inspired me to keep going and moreover to explore that part of my life. He also taught me that my life does not have to be just skateboarding and that I can do so much more with it.

BILDER_jerry-hsu_2400dpi 4

With exhibitions like this one, you kind of changed your status from being a professional skateboarder to being known as a photographer. How did this change of profession come about, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a photographer over being a skateboarder?

Well, I would actually say that I still see myself as a professional skateboarder more than a photographer actually. There definitely were times in my life where skateboarding has been less important, but as this particular time it is very important to me. I am filming for a new video and so I am very focused on it. Although, being a photographer is very important to me, too, skateboarding is definitely right now taking a priority. But I don’t really know how much longer that will last because, you know, I am just getting tired. I just can’t really skate on that level that much longer I think, although it would be nice. Becoming a photographer was also a dream of mine, and I am very lucky and fortunate today to even get the opportunity to dip my toes into the water. You know what I mean? I would not have considered myself to be a professional photographer, but rather say that I am just a guy who takes photos and is lucky enough to do stuff like this.

What are you currently filming for?

Oh, I am filming for a new Emerica video. It is kind of a smaller one and it will be done this fall. It’s me, Spanky, Andrew Reynolds, Brian Herman and Figgy. So that’s what I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It has been really awesome but at the same time really hard. It is funny, because for a long time I kind of wasn’t really interested in skateboarding anymore. I just kind of fell off and I think I needed to do that. You know? And when they asked me like if I want to be in this video I was like “yeah, let’s try it!” That actually kind of reinvigorated me. You know, it was so cool because I just felt like a kid again watching skate videos, trying to find spots and making lists of tricks. It was great, you know, like skating was new to me again. It was my rebirth! So I am really happy about this project because it gave me back something I had lost for a while.

Is it also motivating for you that it might be one of, or probably even the last, part?

That is hard to say, but this part has been really hard to do because I want to skate on a certain level but my body just can’t do what it used to do. So I would say that this might be kind of the last part that is on a certain level of skating. You know, I might film for more parts but I am not sure if I could do this again because this one has been pretty tough and I am still working pretty hard for it. But at the same time, I don’t know, let’s assume next year someone were to be like “Oh, we want you to film another video part.” I don’t know if I want to just be like “Sorry, I can’t do this no more because I can’t do what I did before.” However, I guess it would be kind of nice in any profession to stop when you are at your best. But at the same time it is hard to notice when you once you have reached this point.

BILDER_jerry-hsu_2400dpi 3

We first came into contact with Jun’s skating via Instagram, as well as through Leon Rudolph’s YouTube channel. Jun kind of stuck out for some reason—he wasn’t the best skater in the videos, but he seemed to be having the most fun. His personality shined through, which is much harder to find in today’s skateboard world than someone who can hardflip a 16. Not limiting himself to the realm of skateboarding, Jun also makes music and has established his own clothing brand called 송준sky. Clearly, he expresses himself a lot across mediums and industries. Rewinding back to a couple of weeks ago, we went on a trip to Bremen and got to meet Jun. We had the opportunity to see if he uses the internet as a tool to create that feeling of happy-go-lucky charm, or if it just comes organically. I think flipping through this issue provides you with the answer to this question. In a sense, meeting Jun felt like déjà vu, similar to when we met Franz Grimm, who we featured in our last issue. Although they are completely different types of guys, they both gave us a similar feeling: that good vibe that makes you want to join in and hang out for just a little while longer.

by Roland Hoogwater
Photo: Danny Sommerfeld

Our lifestyle during the summer months differs a lot from the one we have in the winter. In the winter we try to soak up the sun and go out and skate as much as we can, but in the summer months, we might waste a sunny day by taking a girl to the beach. The same goes for other aspects of our social life when the days become longer, we move from inside the bar to outside the Späti! So we decided it Bright was the right time to show everyone how we live during the Berlin summer, we asked our friends at Späti 36 if we could throw our PLACE ISSUE 57 release party there and they said YES! So if you were at the party and want to relive the moment or if you were not there and want to get a taste of what it was like check out our snapshot recap.

Snapshot is forever.

We would like to invite you to the launch of PLACE Issue 57 “A Portrait”
For this event, we want to take you with us and celebrate things “Berlin Style” at a Spätkauf.

Our new issue is focusing on the age-old art of portraying: people, moments, things and emotions. We challenged ourselves in new ways! Stop by and have a drink with us.

Head over to our Facebook event for more info and updates.

PLACE Issue 57 Features:

Dane Brady, Jerry Hsu, Kevin Rodrigues, Jun Song, Sarah Parson-Texas, and Giorgi Armani.