Europe Through A Viewfinder

Jon Humphries doesn’t like to write¿it’s hard, and it’s boring. So when we asked him to write about his tour of Europe with the adidas team, we could hear his eyes roll over the phone. We explained that we need words to accompany his photos, and he reluctantly agreed. A few days later, he e-mailed us the captions appearing with his photos, which in typical Humphries fashion, are damn good.

Europe’s been done to death, right? How many European tour articles have we forced down your proverbial throats in recent years? A million? Well, Jon’s perspective of the experience of traveling around the world as part of skateboarding’s freak show is different, and it comes through in the prints he sends us.

Maybe it’s good that Jon doesn’t write.

Lance is one of my favorite people to travel with. He constantly keeps you entertained with all kinds of humor and interesting stories about the past. One of my favorite things to do when we have a lot of time to talk is pick his brain for little tidbits of information about the Bones Brigade, Neil Blender, past travel experiences, etc.¿all the things I didn’t get to know about when I was a kid, before I was “in the industry.”

I was reading Tony Hawk’s biography recently and discovered that one of the stories Lance had told me was in the book. It was a story about Tony and Lance staying at a skate camp in Sweden one summer, and how they bought a car and caused all kinds of trouble. There was even a picture of the car in the book, with rat bones spray-painted on the hood!

I had to barge in front of three filmers to get this frontside boardslide of Lance onto my Fuji Velvia.

Jahmal Williams is one smooth fellow. He just cruises along on the trip, ripping and exploring all the new surroundings we encountered every day. From being an amazing artist to dabbling in the music world to just concentrating on skateboarding, Jahmal has a lot of interesting things going on in his head … and I mean that in a good way.

This trip was the first time I’d been to Berlin, and I loved how the whole city was so art-oriented, with tons of creativity going on all over the city. In this photo, Jahmal creates a noseslide across a ledge next to one of the hundreds of sculptures on the streets of Berlin.

Jeremy is full of energy! So much that it enables him to skateboard all day, nonstop, and talk about it all night.

I first saw Jeremy on this trip in Lausanne, Switzerland at the Grand Prix of Skateboarding. He definitely caught the attention of many by skating well the whole contest, but there was one strange thing about him: Jeremy is addicted to wearing pads on the street course¿not a very common thing in a pro contest.

In order to take this photo of him backside tailsliding over a gap at the Railslide Skatepark in Munich, Germany, I made a little deal with him. It went something like this: “Yeah, we’ll shoot a photo, but I don’t shoot street photos of skaters with pads on.” Jeremy agreed after some whining and sobbing, and I got him down to one wrist guard. He proceeded to skate well with no comfort blanket to fall down on.

What can be said about Bob Burnquist that hasn’t already been said? These three amazing photographs were all shot in the period of one beautiful evening in Marseille, France.

1.) You might have seen the first photo in sequence form a couple issues ago. Bob ollies over the whole teardrop to backside lipslide across the spine for about fifteen feet. First he did it frontside, and then he immediately proceeded to do it backside, twice. I got a fisheye angle and then a long-lens angle.

2.) The next photo blew my mind¿a head-high kickflip, no grabbing involved, off the main hip. No kidding, if I was standing on the deck, this kickflip would’ve been at least head high. Wait for a future issue to witness this with your own eyes, or catch the amazing 16mm footage, filmed with the ever crisp 45-degree-angle shutter.

3.) As the sun set on thMediterranean, the light turned into a photographer’s dream. Bob then proceeded to reel off about five or ten various over-head-high airs. Eventually he stopped and collapsed on the ground, providing three more images for the viewing audience. Bob is Bob, what else can be said? This may have been one of my most memorable photo sessions ever.

Quim befriends many with his comfortable, outgoing personality. Outside Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland, Surfey (our Swiss guide and all-around nice guy) took us to this school in suburbia. On the same day Quim switch ollied over the street-hockey goal, he befriended the scooter boy and got to ride his funky little scooter all over the playground. By the end of the day, he was teaching this team of playground kids how to beatbox and play the flute. The kids swarmed Matt and Lance as they played with the BB guns they’d gotten the day before in Zurich. All the kids loved playing with Quim, Lance, and Matt.

When I first saw the banks in Winterthur, I couldn’t believe how perfect they were for skateboarding! I’d be really curious to meet the person who designed them. The banks have been there for quite some time, too. I remember seeing them in magazines and videos when I was a kid.

I first met Toad in San Francisco, and I could tell from the start that he’s a genuine person. I was excited to see him randomly show up at this spot and rip.

While skating one day, we ended up at this suburban school that had amazing concrete benches, straight out of Southern California. Matt proceeded to terrorize those poor little benches in every way possible. He finally got bored with grinding and sliding the whole twenty-foot span of the benches and broke out his new BB gun. The kids instantly swarmed Matt to get a hold of his gun and try ‘er out. Matt had ten new friends. After some time, the BB gun finally got old, or he ran out of BBs, and it was back to skateboarding.

Here, Matt lays out a frontside bluntslide on Switzerland’s version of the blue-plastic Southern California picnic table.

I met Danny Wainwright two years ago when I stayed in England for a month and took a trip to Bristol. Danny 360 flipped the three at Lloyd’s.

It was nice to be back in Bristol again and see Danny, as well as Vaughn Baker, James Hacker, and Flynn Trotman¿three of England’s finest skateboarders.

About the time I was setting up to shoot this photo of Danny, another photographer was getting real close to him as he was ollieing the fence. It turned out to be a little too close, but I didn’t think much of it. He got hit in the head by Danny’s board on a bail and was not a happy camper. He took a seat as Danny apologized to him.

London is probably one of my favorite cities. There’s so much happening at any given moment, and there’s a lot of culture and interesting people. Someday I’ll live in London and torture Pete Helicar and everyone at Slam City Skates!

I have been to the PlayStation skatepark many of times, too many times for how dreary the place is. This time was an exception¿it’s a lot more enjoyable when you have something to take pictures of. Matt Beach was doing rocket airs off the snowboard launcher, and Jahmal was killing this waist-high flatbar with frontside nosegrinds and an assortment of other fine feats.

James Hacker lives in Bristol. Legend has it he’s got some kind of magical power. This power comes from only skating the day after a full moon, enabling him to skateboard harder than everyone else combined. Most people don’t know how he does it, but every time I’ve run into James, he’s ripping, and there’s never a knackered moment. This frontside 270 air over the hip was no exception. James is a mystery to most.

The weather in Marseille is amazing, and this day was no exception. We were on our way to a supposed demo when we ran across these marble banks. The crew ended up staying at this spot for quite some time. It was the first time in a while that we got to skate street. Everyone had a lot of energy, including Quim, who hucked this switch frontside flip over a police barrier.

Sometimes it pays to always have a camera on you. I’m the first one to admit that I’m usually really lazy about carrying it. That’s why I like to travel as much as possible. For one, it gives me a whole new outlook on my surroundings, but more importantly, it forces me to always carry my camera. Normally, I wouldn’t have gotten this photo of the two boys playing piggyback in Prague because it happened so fast, but fortunately my camera was around my neck.

After being on the road for a while, seeing the same people 24 hours a day, you need some time to yourself. I was taking a walk in Lausanne, trying to escape, when I saw these two girls running for the train. I like to capture ordinary life experiences on film¿things you wouldn’t normally think would be a good photo until you get the film back from the lab.

I’ve always been a big fan of the lunchtime nap. It’s an old tradition in Bristol, England.

I have this problem with observing my surroundings. I always notice people on the street shooting photos. This is one of many photos I’ve taken documenting other people shooting photos. This one happens to be in Berlin.

This dog wanted to pee on this really old tree in Prague; I thought it would make a funny photo. It reminded of an Elliot Erwit photograph.

Prague has so many wonderful photo opportunities beyond the beautiful architecture. I shot photos of this kid playing soccer on this amazing European-looking soccer field. Then he took a break and made a perfect photo for me.

These three folk were having a jolly old time drinking on the streets of London.

The subtle differences between countries are interesting. When do you ever see a bunch of kids with scooters driving around in America?

The day we left Berlin, I saw this interesting punk-rock kid. He had a dog that loved ripping posters off walls. His dog enjoyed it so much he couldn’t get it to stop.

I’m also interested in what lies beneath the sidewalk.

Quim has many talents.

I saw the whole thing go down. I saw Ed go down, and I didn’t know if I should take a photo of him or not. Ed likes to document things, as do I. Ed’s direct quote to me, while lying on the ground in pain, was, “Take a photo, bitch!” So I took some photos, and some Swiss dude yelled at me. I replied, “Ed told me to take photos.”

Jahmal Williams in Berlin.

These kids in Prague snarled at me when I took a photo of them playing soccer in the street.

I was walking along in Bristol with Lance when I looked down this alleyway and saw a guy lighting up a smoke. I backed up and shot a photo a second later. I guess it just comes down to having your camera around your neck.

Quim gives free beatboxing lessons in Switzerland.

A separate trash can for syringes? Only in Europe.

Matt likes Popsicles on a hot summer day.

Lance is really into German modern thinking. Sprockets.

street. Everyone had a lot of energy, including Quim, who hucked this switch frontside flip over a police barrier.

Sometimes it pays to always have a camera on you. I’m the first one to admit that I’m usually really lazy about carrying it. That’s why I like to travel as much as possible. For one, it gives me a whole new outlook on my surroundings, but more importantly, it forces me to always carry my camera. Normally, I wouldn’t have gotten this photo of the two boys playing piggyback in Prague because it happened so fast, but fortunately my camera was around my neck.

After being on the road for a while, seeing the same people 24 hours a day, you need some time to yourself. I was taking a walk in Lausanne, trying to escape, when I saw these two girls running for the train. I like to capture ordinary life experiences on film¿things you wouldn’t normally think would be a good photo until you get the film back from the lab.

I’ve always been a big fan of the lunchtime nap. It’s an old tradition in Bristol, England.

I have this problem with observing my surroundings. I always notice people on the street shooting photos. This is one of many photos I’ve taken documenting other people shooting photos. This one happens to be in Berlin.

This dog wanted to pee on this really old tree in Prague; I thought it would make a funny photo. It reminded of an Elliot Erwit photograph.

Prague has so many wonderful photo opportunities beyond the beautiful architecture. I shot photos of this kid playing soccer on this amazing European-looking soccer field. Then he took a break and made a perfect photo for me.

These three folk were having a jolly old time drinking on the streets of London.

The subtle differences between countries are interesting. When do you ever see a bunch of kids with scooters driving around in America?

The day we left Berlin, I saw this interesting punk-rock kid. He had a dog that loved ripping posters off walls. His dog enjoyed it so much he couldn’t get it to stop.

I’m also interested in what lies beneath the sidewalk.

Quim has many talents.

I saw the whole thing go down. I saw Ed go down, and I didn’t know if I should take a photo of him or not. Ed likes to document things, as do I. Ed’s direct quote to me, while lying on the ground in pain, was, “Take a photo, bitch!” So I took some photos, and some Swiss dude yelled at me. I replied, “Ed told me to take photos.”

Jahmal Williams in Berlin.

These kids in Prague snarled at me when I took a photo of them playing soccer in the street.

I was walking along in Bristol with Lance when I looked down this alleyway and saw a guy lighting up a smoke. I backed up and shot a photo a second later. I guess it just comes down to having your camera around your neck.

Quim gives free beatboxing lessons in Switzerland.

A separate trash can for syringes? Only in Europe.

Matt likes Popsicles on a hot summer day.

Lance is really into German modern thinking. Sprockets.