2011? What the fuck? Bear with me here. It’s Jeff Martin‘s birthday and it’s probably no coincidence that this throwback popped up in my Vimeo feed. Although I find it hard to believe, there are easily one or two people in this world who aren’t a fan of Martin’s riding. How can this be? Some people might have something against precision rail tricks or a style as relaxed as it is buttery. Some people might not like the way he fires out huge gaps while also lacing locked-in crooked grinds in the same video parts (the way he powers though the kinked crook @ 2:38 is second-to-none). Others may have a hard time comprehending that although you may not hear from him for months on end, any time that Jeff Martin footage is made public it makes a huge splash. To me, his style embodies the East Coast and companies like Skavenger recognize that. The only thing I don’t like about Martin is that I hear that Naughty by Nature track in my head anytime I see him ride (and frankly, I can deal with that).
I may have met him at some point earlier in the years but a Sunday in May 2010 is the time I won’t soon forget meeting Jeff Martin. My memories of those days are quite blurred but I think it unfolded as such: Adam had some of the Peg Leg guys from New England in town staying at his place for the weekend and it had either rained or plans fell through but we couldn’t link up to ride until Sunday afternoon. It was my first time meeting Devin Feil and he didn’t have dreadlocks. Jeff was smoking a Marlboro Red (I just took a smoke break to gather my thoughts) and was mumblingly quiet upon introduction. It appeared that an infant had gone to town with colored markers on his arms and I think he had diamond (looking?) studs in his ears.
We sat at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza and Jeff smoked at least three cigarettes in a 30-minute period. He calmly grabbed his bike and placed himself at the top of the renowned gap to rail while Devin got the video camera from his bag and put on the fisheye. I inquired as to what was about to go down.
“Gap to tires”
What!? I asked Jeff if it was cool if I shot it and he had no problems and lit another cigarette as I set up my flashes. From what I remember, he didn’t really warm up with a gap to pegs and went straight for gold. He did manage to snag (albeit on accident) the NBD gap to feeble on his way, which he didn’t seem to care much about. In a short number of tries, sure enough he gapped the three stairs and flat and landed perfectly with both tires and rode two bike lengths across the mellow rail of average diameter. I think Mastroni manned the second angle shot.
After receiving daps and praises from everyone witnessing (including a pioneer of the spot, Edwin himself) he sat down with an idle smile, lit another Red and announced that he was finally ready to head back to Connecticut.
Since that day, Jeff Martin has always stood out in my mind as an incredible bike rider whose laid-back attitude and humble personality add to his illustrious persona. Following him on Instagram or checking out his portfolio, you’ll see that he’s also a very talented artist with an obvious skill for translating emotions into visuals. I’m looking forward to seeing any new footage from him- just as we all are. Happy Birthday Jeff!
Posted in BMX
Tagged Jeff Martin
It’s not difficult to notice that this photo is pretty great… The rider and his multi-colored shirt pop out of the dark green background like crazy. The composition is super clean and all of the information necessary to bring context to the riding is there- the way the coping hugs the bottom of the frame is my favorite part. It’s a rather dialed invert as well.
“This is James Van De Kamp doing another ridiculously folded table top. Sometime in early April we got some really good weather for a while, so we got out to Gleneagles bowl in West Vancouver for a day. James is one of my favourite people to shoot with. He’s incredibly dialed, so it makes it really easy. I recently picked up the Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and I’m incredibly happy with the way it performs with natural lighting. This photo was shot at 1/4000s at f/2.8 and 160ISO on my 7D. Nothing else to really say, just a bunch of dudes on bikes having a fun session.”
Check out more of James’ riding here.
See more of Shawn’s work here.
Join and contribute to the Flickr group.
Enter the Fisheye Photo Contest!
Since the popularization of the fisheye lens in the 1960s, its use has varied from scientific applications to hip hop music videos to caricaturistic portraits of Golden Retrievers. Its value in the action sports realm burgeoned with help from the early pioneers of skateboard photography like C.R. Stecyk, Glen Friedman and Hugh Holland. The ultra-wide view and extreme distortion adds energy to the subject while keeping them in context with their environment. It also helps when there are obstructions in the scene which work against the use of a longer focal length.
Regardless of the reason, action sports photographers use the fisheye a lot (too much?) and it doesn’t take a professional to recognize when it’s being used incorrectly. While I like to believe that there are no “rules” in photography (therein lies the art), there are definite guidelines and any photo editor will tell you that the fisheye lens brings with it a certain expectation that the photographer will follow them- to a certain extent.
My go-to comment in the Push It A Stop Flickr pool is “get closer!” when I see a fisheye photo where the rider is a speck in the frame (and the rest is filled with useless information). I read/heard somewhere that “if the fisheye isn’t in danger of getting hit then you aren’t using it correctly.” This somewhat hyperbolic statement rings true in what my friends and I used to call “the DIG cover shot” (shouts to Ricky Adam) where a headless rider’s front wheel had to have been brushing the camera.
On the other end of the spectrum, the fisheye can be used to fill the frame with an exaggerated environment while the rider- still the subject of the photo- becomes a drop in the ocean (the most prominent example in my mind being a photo of Mike Hoder riding the ramp in his Brooklyn backyard shot from the upper-level fire escape by Rob Dolecki).
This contest is about proper fisheye usage, not just seeing who can get their lens destroyed by a flying bike.
Upload your entries (limit 3) to the Flickr pool with the words “Fisheye Contest” somewhere in the title. Much like the guidelines for using the fisheye lens itself, the rules for the contest are vague and will probably not be adhered to. In any case, we will choose our favorite fisheye shot at the end of June.
Winning photographer and rider will receive Push It A Stop/The Come Up prize packages and be featured on the front page.
Good luck and be careful of front wheels!
Scotty Wemmer, 2002
After filming the rest of the third DVD for his brainchild Jib, Jon got to pedal around without any extra weight on his back and ride just the spots that he wanted to ride. OH WAIT, that’s not how it works at all… I hope that you guys show your filmer some love on this upcoming International Carry Your Filmer’s Bag Day (the last Saturday of May – but if I had the chance to invent such a holiday, it would be the last Saturday of every month and would include your photographer’s bags as well).
I was surprised to see this photo in the Flickr pool because not only is it film, but medium format film at that. Furthermore, I was psyched to read that Patrick developed the film himself in his bathroom. Beyond the format, I was pleased by the warm colors in this shot as well as the geometry in the ground, the framing of the rider and timing of the trick.
“This is Erwin Muench doing a toothpick over grind. We shot the photo straight after some troubles with the police.. We crunched some new curbs in the city center, and an old couple saw that, they made photos of us – we were a group of 10 riders -…it escalated. It was seriously but no one was hurt.
The police caught us in the Schweizergarten – a garden with some ponds near a military museum – but they let us go after it was revealed that booth sides not acted properly…
So after all that, the general desire was to chill at a pond. Every pond has catwalks on water level with low handrails. The break turned into a session. Erwin did the tooth over first try, so I asked him to do it again for my Kiev 88 – he agreed – so I began to search for a suitable perspective. With a Kodak Portra 160 in the back of my Kiev and the plan to catch as much as possible from the handrail and the water reflections, plus the choice between a normal (80mm)- and a fisheye (30mm) lens; the only thing that makes sense is a snapshot from above. Fortunately there was a viewing platform in front of the catwalk. I went up, looked through the viewfinder and it was perfect. I made a light metering, agreed with Erwin a spot and adjusted the cam. It took two tries, than it was done.
Back home I developed the film in my bathroom and scanned it.
Kodak Portra 160
Developement Kit: Tetenal Colortec C-41″
Check out Patrick’s blog about the BMX scene in Vienna- Wiener Gretzn.
Join the Flickr group today!
The best at what they do- Chase Hawk and Joe Simon- teamed up and made this masterpiece. Not much more description is necessary, but… Chase Hawk. Joe Simon. Masterpiece.
As always, this issue of ART BMX is filled with foreign words and great photographs. Check out the photo on page 63- definitely one of the most spectacular flatland photos I’ve ever seen but also one of my favorite riding photos ever (shot by Christian Vanhanja). Also on that note, our good friend Josh McElwee has a photo piece starting on page 142.