A Weapon and Shield
Jaime Marie Davis
Long understood to be a symbolic emblem of movement and freedom, skateboarding often runs through the shadows of civic life.
These hard-edged tools—or toys—trace the contours of urban environments, drawing out formal features and acting as a mirror to the social codes we value. Skateboarders have also made a significant impact by challenging environments fraught with social injustice—from the Rolling for Rights movement in California to Skate Pal in Palestine.
Today, a skateboard and a camera typically travel together. As photographer and cultural critic Teju Cole writes, “when we speak of “shooting” a camera, we are acknowledging the kinship of photography and violence”, and both the skateboard and the camera sit in a double bind; they can be iron-fisted tools, or facilitate liberation and rebellion.
This series of self-shot conversations with skaters, photographers, and videographers recounts their experiences of skateboarding and photography that run in parallel with social justice movements and various eruptions of unrest.