Chima Ferguson Professional Skateboarder Portrait

How long have you been skateboarding and how did you get into it?

I first got on a board when I was in Primary School. I started because my brothers and their friends used to skate… pretty cliché story I guess! Back then I just used to push around and not much else. It wasn’t until I moved to the Gold Coast that I really got into it. I lived a couple of blocks from the Grindhouse Skatepark (lest we forget) and it became my second home for most of my high school years. After school I was just skating on and off and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really got back into it.    

Luiz Flavio Skateboarder Front Blunt

How did you get into photography? Do you do it as a means of income or as a hobby?

For the most part it’s just a hobby but I occasionally get to do it when it’s part of a design job. I did a bit of photography at uni; not as an official part of my course but I was studying design so ended up learning the basics as a necessity really. I’ve never had any official training but I wouldn’t say I’m self taught as there are a lot of people who have helped me learn. I’ve dabbled in a bit of skate photography here and there over the years but I really got into it last year when I started shooting photos of my ex. He needed photos and I was keen to shoot. I had an average camera and no lenses and he had the whole kit that he lent me. It worked out pretty well. We made a good team like that.

Girls Skateboarding in Australia

Do you shoot skateboarding and/or skateboarding lifestyle? What is your favourite thing to shoot?

I love shooting both. Nothing beats hearing the shutter at that perfect moment in a trick and then watching them roll away from it. Shooting skateboarding on the streets, in unique places where you can work in all the surrounding architecture to compose a cool picture, is my favourite. But half of what makes skateboarding ‘skateboarding’ is the lifestyle. Documenting that and capturing the good vibes and tough times is pretty special too.

Luiz Flavio Skateboarder Crooked Grind

Tell us a bit about the exhibition you have planned for the New Year – what is the motivation behind it?

I’m putting together a photography exhibition called Yeah Girl, which will feature photos of female skateboarders shot by female photographers. It opens on March 11 next year on the Gold Coast as part of Bleach Festival (save the date!). A few months ago it was just an idea kicking around in my head and then it quickly snow balled into this big event and it’s all happening! I’m super excited!

I started noticing more and more girls around the world were shooting skate photos and it just seemed like this really niche little group that was flying under the radar. Originally I was going to do it as an exhibition of female photographers shooting anyone skating—guys or girls—but I’m also a bit of an advocate for increasing the exposure of female skaters, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put all the ladies in the spot light; the ones behind the camera and in front of it. It’s no man-hater club—we love the dudes that kick it with us! But it’s a rare chance to give the girls a voice and celebrate women’s skateboarding… and I hope all the guys will be there to celebrate it with us.

Chima Ferguson Professional Skateboarder Portrait

Who are some of your favourite photographers / who do you look to for inspiration?

It’s hard to go past a few of the greats in skate photography. The first ones that come to mind are Mike Blabac, Atiba Jefferson and Fred Mortagne. As far as the ladies go, I love the work of Alana Patterson, Lisa Kindberg and Sarah Muerle, to name a few.

All the skaters that push the limits inspire me… it gets me excited and I want to capture the madness. It gives you this sense that anything’s possible and you start thinking without borders—about photos, about skateboarding and about life.

Luiz Flavio Skateboarder Rock and Roll

What part do you see photography playing in your future?

Basically, I just want to continue to learn and experiment, spend time with people that inspire me and travel more so I can shoot different people and different places. Photography is a pretty new thing for me so I’m a bit like a kid in a candy store–there’s so much to explore and experiment with. Who knows exactly what role it will play in my life or where it will lead me. I’m hoping Yeah Girl is something that will happen annually and that I can carry that on and continue to help shine light on women in skateboarding.

Amanda France Skateboarder

Shout outs?

If anyone’s keen to shoot, hit me up!! And if any other female photographers want to get involved in Yeah Girl get in touch – | @thesarahhuston