So here we are… first blog of the week. I thought this time I should set myself a challenge…an assessment if you will. With the help of a short brainstorming session, a few spider diagrams, and the inability to fall asleep before midnight, I devised a task that would not only be relevant in some part to extreme sports, but would also test my eye for a good photograph. And so, the “Fifteen Minute Photo Forage” was born and the umbilical cord cut.
My task, if I chose to actually bother with it, was to trawl the 49,261,052 (vaguely accurate at time of writing) websites on the internet, in order to find the 3 best skateboarding photos out there. And as the name says I only had 15 minutes to do this in.
Immediately doubt entered my mind. I don’t know much about skateboarding, do I? Where will the best photos be? 49,261,052, that’s a big number isn’t it? Shall I look for renowned photographers, or shall I look for renowned skateboarders? Will my kitchen tap stop making that really high pitched noise so I can concentrate? Do I have a stopwatch?
I decide to put these worries to the back of my mind. I eventually find a stopwatch above the oven and set it to 15 minutes. I fire up the internet before starting the watch. The challenge should be testing me, not my computers constant failure to respond to simple on/off instructions.
I start the “Fifteen Minute Photo Forage”. The following 15 minutes went something like this:
0 mins 26 secs: Homepage is set to BBC Sport: read about Henry escaping punishment for his handball. Think situation is ridiculous. Remember what I’m supposed to be doing.
0 mins 33 secs: Type in ‘cool skateboard photography’ to Google search. Click on first link I see: http://thehotcrew.com/2006/09/19/the-100-best-skate-photos-on-flickr/ It shows the best skateboard photos on Flickr! My hunt gets off to a good start as I find loads of cool pictures of skateboarders in mid-air. But, like Catherine Zeta-Jones I could do better, alot lot lot better!
1 min 58 secs: Nearly at the 2 minute mark. Go back to Google search. Click on surfdoggy.com, not sure what to expect. I could be moments away from pictures of a doggy doing human things on a surfboard, or humans doing doggy things on a surfboard. Turns out to be some crappy clipart photos of surfboards.
2 min 38secs: I refine my search to “skateboard pictures”. This proves to be key in my search as straight away I am directed to Matt Price’s skateboard gallery at http://theskateboardmag.com/articles/fresh-crops-matt-price/ . I rifle through the pictures and stumble across one that catches my eye. A black and white photo of Ethan Fowler grinding down a hand rail. He’s got long hair and a beard. I like this guys’ style, he joins my shortlist.
4 mins 22secs: The clock is ticking. The noise from the kitchen tap stops. I however continue…
4 mins 24secs: The word ‘artsy’ is added to my search. I need something with a bit more class. I quickly find a link to the photos at http://www.ascartel.com/interviews/71-antton-miettinen-professional-skateboard-photographer , and rummage through Antton Miettinen’s galleries in pursuit of my favourite. I find a photo of a guy flying through the air. Another black and white, I admit. But this is a great photo showing that cool stuff happens anywhere, anytime. Fact.
9 mins 43secs: The last search was undoubtedly a lengthy one, and time is slipping through my hands. I replace ‘artsy’ with ‘sexy’.
10 mins 05 secs: It takes too long filtering out the ‘inappropriate’ sites to make this search worthwhile. ‘Sexy’ is replaced with ‘cool’. Realise I have already searched this. Again I click on the top of the list because it must be the coolest, right? I am taken to www.snorad.com. This is decidedly uncool. I am annoyed, Google has deceived me.
11 mins 23 secs: My computer is slow to get back to the previous page. More time wasted
11 mins 51 secs: I am now using Ask.com as a search engine. Surely Jeeves won’t try to fool me. The search is repeated: ‘cool skateboard pictures’. And low and behold, Jeeves comes up trumps! I am inundated with possibilities. I choose http://www.briancaissie.com/, a gallery compiled by Brian Caissie, showcasing his photography. He’s a professional skateboard photographer, and a good one to boot. Again a quick search of his albums leaves me astounded, and personally I think I have a winner: the guy in a red jumper doing an ollie with a fag in his hand (5th photo along – Wade Desarmo). I’m surprised this is my favourite because usually black and photography gets the nod. But it is deserving of my award because, just like X in the City, the extreme sport is being transferred into an alien, urban environment, but still retains the essence of its art and purpose.
14 mins 37 secs: Feel happy. Foraged for 3 photos in fifteen minutes. Job complete.
14 mins 40 secs: Tap starts crying again. Feel unhappy.
So, you may ask what I’ve actually learnt from this. And in truth, the answer is ‘very little’. I have however helped share some skateboard photos (of varying quality, I admit), as well as finishing a challenge for the first time since the last time.
Can you do better?