Manual Magazine

From The Mag: Format Perspective Review

Posted by Connor Hill on Monday January 28 2013

We have just received a limited number of Philip Evan’s Format Perspective DVD which profiles photographers Nils Svensson (Malmo), Stu Robinson (Belfast), Alex Irvine (London), Rich Gilligan (Dublin) and Bretrand Trichet (Barcelona) in stunning Super 8. You can pick one up from our shop here. To give you some background on the review that was published in Manual #48, December 2012.

Text by Morgan Campbell

Format Perspective – Phil Evans

Talk about a stylish yet thorough examination of a niche profession. Format Perspective is a documentary shot entirely in Super 8 examining the trials and triumphs of the European skate photographer! Not only are these guys highly specialised, they also shoot outdoor in environments with sporadic sunshine. Places with predominantly crusty ground. Locations full of lurkers. They are from spots scattered all across the continent, hailing from some of the least likely cities.

In total six photographers are profiled. They talk of their relations with skateboarding in their cities, and their capturing of specific images within their chosen environments. There are also glimpses into the architecture, vibe and best skating in each region.
Nils Svensson hails from Malmö, Sweden. He has a spellbinding mutant of a Euro-English accent, and is a major documenter of the Pontus-led DIY movement in Malmö. He is brilliant and super picky about who he shoots with and quite rightfully so. “If I had to shoot who I was told to shoot, you know, that would be boring.”

Stu Robinson from Belfast is well gnarly and definitely has my favourite accent of the film; so endearing! I love a good accent. He visits no-go zones in the still-religiously segregated city and some of his imagery alone is worth buying the DVD for. He even uses Jedi mind tricks to get away with shooting where he probably shouldn’t be, talking about slowing down his movements to look more natural in sketchy spots. Love this guy.

Aberdeen skater, Glasgow-dweller and Kingpin editor Alex Irvine lives in London now and is easily the funniest of the bunch of lens bandits chosen as the film’s subjects. “It is always interesting the different people you meet shooting skate photos. You know, loopy guys or straight-lacers, there is always a variation in who you are going to hang out with and what they are capable of. I think as a skate photographer you have to be able to embrace all types of skateboarding, all manner of nut jobs.” Maybe this could be the byline for the next issue of Manual? Manual #48 Warning: contains all manner of nut jobs.

Richard Gilligan (Dublin) is an artistic force to be reckoned with who seems to have excelled in the skate, academic, art and even publishing worlds. He turns his head beyond the world of skateboarding for his inspiration. He steers away from the obvious choice of fish-eyes and mixes up his formats like crazy. A review of his book DIY is also featured in this issue.

Sergej Vutuc (Heilbronn) hails from the former Yugoslavia. He shoots with similarly bearded hell men. His choice of twisted, multiply-exposed, experimental melted transparencies matches the rawness and chaos of his subjects.

Bertrand Trichet is a Barcelona-based Frenchman. His section is primarily filmed on a trip to Tokyo and he is very much a travel skate photographer who bathes in new environments and likes to show surrounding elements, often dwarfing skaters in vast urban environments. Pontus is on the Japan tour with him so you know there’s some quality skating in this section.

As in Phil Evans’ other works (Scrum Tilly Lush etc) he shows that aside from having an eye for epic Super 8 shots he’s also a master of musical selection. This package comes audio-laced with a mixture of the Dilla-esque Koushik, Stark Reality (also hailing from the Stones Throw catalogue), Helsinki’s Tombstoned and Dunedin’s Craig Scott. Class tunage, tiger!

Now before you go off and torrent the living daylights out of Format Perspective, think again. You need this as the entire package, as the DVD comes in a superb picture-filled hardcover book featuring all the photos that were shot during the film. I give this an eleven and a half out of ten.

Film stills courtesy of Format Perspective.

Image Gallery (5 Photos)