With all the CPH coverage dropping we present to you one last recap to close it off and that is the PLACEMAGPAULE photo recap.
Contrary to last year almost the whole PLACE staff traveled to arguably the best city in the world. But even though we were all in the same city, festival rules applied, which meant that within moments we lost each other and started doing our own thing. We all ended up at different events and safe for a few moments only saw each other at the plethora of parties that the CPH Open is host to.
It seemed everybody had a great time at every single event but our highlight was definitely the Levi’s event which looked rained out at first but ended up saving our lives by offering us a boat ride, good food, cold drinks and a very hot but healthy sauna experience!
We wish we could say “See you next year!” but the organizers felt that it was time for a break. So we will end it by saying, enjoy Paule’s photo recap and see you at the next Copenhagen Open.
“The best Berliner skate video since Panorama.” – Unfortunately, I can’t remember who said this to me, but I found this quote really fitting when, a week ago, Dan Schulz‘ independent full length “Oh Snap” premiered at the overcrowded Cassiopeia in Berlin.
Last Saturday Europe Co.‘s second VX full length called autobahn was premiered to a full house at Lobby Skate Shop in Hamburg. It was a boozy evening accompanied by nice DJ sets by Sprite Eyez and Shorty Banks playing all sorts of trap rap on real turntables, which ensured a hyped up mob before the premiere as well as a good aftershow party following. Find a little snapshot gallery below. And if you like to have it as authentic as possible put on Long Time by Ty Dolla $ign.
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.
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
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.
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.
When I happened to be in Copenhagen for the CPH Open, I met up with Marius Syvanen in a small Danish pub. Marius is one of those type of people you can already tell from their outer appearance that they have traveled the world and have seen quite a lot. He seems to live an enjoyable life far off the stressed and hectic world, which has given him a very carefree and humble character. As soon as we had been done with the interview, he drank down the rest of his beer, took his board and skated the curbs in front of the pub as if there would be no better place to skate in the whole world.
Interview & photos by Paul Röhrs
First of all, tell me about your roots. I read you originate from Helsinki?
Yeah, just a bit outside from Helsinki. My parents and me moved to the States when I was about five. I still have the rest of my family in Helsinki and I come back to visit them for a couple weeks every summer. I just came here from Helsinki right now and this was the 22nd summer in a row that I go back and forth.
Have you ever thought about moving back completely?
Maybe later but now not really man. San Diego’s weather is hart to beat.
It is a well-known fact, that in San Diego you became close friends with the guys from Skate Mafia. What do you say about the enduring rumors about you being on Skate Mafia for real one day?
Haha! Fuck yeah! I am the TM! But you know, of course this always has been a joke. People have saying this to me for so long like Wes and Tyler. Even on my first photo in a skate mag I had a Skate Mafia board. This was like ten plus years ago man. They are my dawgs! Straight up for sure! But still, Habitat for life!
I just have seen the Levis documentary about the building projects you and the rest of the team did at various places in the world. Tell me a bit about it. How is it to travel the world and build all these skate parks in those sometimes rather remote regions?
Yeah, that’s an epic experience for sure! It’s a give back to communities that don’t really have going so well, you know. It’s like get there and support skateboarding to literally give back something.
Some people might wonder that you actually are a pro skateboarder and now you seem to pursue a rather ordinary job building something with your own hands.
Haha! That’s definitely right! But it’s fun and I learn a lot! Joey Pepper really knows how to do everything proper and kind of like shows us how to build all these things.
How is it going right now with the Levis projects?
We just finished a project in Detroit, Michigan, and we are talking about something possibly in Finland for next year and maybe Vietnam. We definitely will keep on going!
Then I saw this clip of you guys went to Patagonia, which is pretty far south. Tell me about it.
Oh, yeah! Argentina! Man, that was definitely incredible! I guess no professional skateboarders have ever traveled down that far in South America. It was wild man! We went to all these cities that were super poor so it was pretty rough most of the time but we still found some shit to skate here and there. One day we also went to this national park, I can’t remember the name of it, but there was a bunch of penguins on the beach and all these seals and stuff, then suddenly killer whales came out off the water onto the beach to fucking eat the seals. Dude, that was crazy! It was raw nature, although it was still some kind of tourist attraction.
Last but not least, as you are pretty much of a traveling man I heard you are also into photography. Is that correct?
Yes, for sure! I love photos! They help me to remember all these trips, events and experiences, which sometimes would be lost because I have a bad memory. Haha!
Thank you for the interview and I wish you a good stay in Copenhagen!
Well, for those who do not know, my name is Paul and I am working for PLACE since nine months now. So one might say I am still pretty new to the game. Nevertheless, I got my nickname “Placemagpaule” right at my first day at the office and it even developed to a frequently used hashtag on Instagram.
The coolest thing about my job is that I need to travel from time to time and as I have not really been around a lot before, most of the time, I go to see places I have never been before. This also applies for Copenhagen. So as Benni told me that one of us got invited by Levis Skateboarding to join the CPH Open series and asked me if I would like to go there, I of course did not hesitate.
I stayed in Copenhagen for four days and I can say it is indeed a very beautiful city, which is not well-known for its quality of life for no reason. Besides the great architectural mix between old and new, the proximity to the sea, the good food and the friendly and open-minded mentality of the local residents Copenhagen also offers an uncountable number of skate spots. Moreover, most of the people in Copenhagen seem to enjoy or at least to tolerate skateboarding. The best example therefor is that one of the CPH Open events took place inside the historical city hall of Copenhagen, which would just be unthinkable in any other country I have ever been to.
Evan Smith – Bs 540 Nosegrab
Unfortunately, I had bad luck with the weather conditions, which is why I could not be outside as much as I would have liked to. But still, there were enough moments I took off the lens cover of my Canon AE-1 and hit the shutter release. So welcome to the first episode of my personal Placemagpaule travel recaps!
Text & Photos by Paul Röhrs On top: Brad Cromer – Fs Flip