Copenhagen is a skate friendly city at the best of times, but for five days every July the Copenhagen Open rolls through. Hosting the world’s best pros and a heap of core skateboarders who make the trek, it’s an open, fluid and organic street skate event. This year, down a quiet street, the Vess Gallery played host to Yeah Girl – an exhibition showcasing photos of women skateboarders shot by women photographers from around the world. Curated by Australian photographer Sarah Huston, the show made its way to Copenhagen after a successful launch in 2016 on the Gold Coast. And, with women’s skating in the spotlight more than ever, there was no better time to show it in its best and genuine form.
The show, supported by Girls Are Awesome and Monster Energy, featured work from 8 photographers; including Virginia Fernandes, Zorah Olivia, Sonia Ziegler, Jenna Selby, Linnea Bullion, Nayat Cheikh, Jocelyn Tam and Alana Paterson. We went to chat to curator Sarah Huston and exhibiting photographer Sonia Ziegler to find out more.
Sarah Huston, curator
When was the exact moment that Yeah Girl became a thing?
I had never curated before.I was shooting a lot of skate photography, guys and girls – and I realised I had a lot of shots, but all I was doing with them was putting them on Instagram. I thought it be cool to do something more, an exhibition or a zine, but I thought who am I? Who cares? But then I became more aware of other female skate photographers, that I hadn’t realised existed until that point. Instead of exhibiting my work, I thought it would be cool to exhibit a bunch of people’s work.
How did you curate the shots? What were you looking for?
Basically, I want the work of each photographer to speak for each photographer. I want it to be what represents them. But I was also looking for an overall perspective on skateboarding, so the goal was to get the photos from as many countries as possible. I wanted a global perspective.
What is your personal motivation with the show?
The main thing is increasing representation for female photographers and skateboarders. But particularly it started for the photographers. There are so many chicks shooting that you never see in a magazine. I shoot a lot of photos. I am an advocate for more exposure for women’s skaters, so I wanted to help that.
Sonia Ziegler, photographer
How did you first get into photography?
It was only two or three years ago properly, but when I was younger I played around with my father’s cameras – nothing serious, just shooting my friends. But I studied at Bryggeriets, the skateboard high school in Malmo, and there I was so fortunate to have amazing photography tools and different programs to be part of. I switched to photography there.
What do you hope to achieve with your skate photography? What motivates you?
I work a lot with shapes, forms, lines, shadows and compositions, so I think I create more art photos with skateboarding in it. Traditional skateboard photography is usually about the trick, whereas that’s not my style too much. I do have a bunch of photos that are more traditional skate, but I love to work with forms. The style of my skate photos is that I am around and I see something, I see a building, I see a sculpture, I see a cone, I see a shadow and then I just have these visions. I see it forming, it doesn’t matter who or what it is.
What’s good about ‘Yeah Girl’ and being part of it?
Something like this is what is needed for people to pay more attention to women’s skateboarding. There is so much happening, even though men still dominate, there is still so much going on. But because of the lack of media coverage, there are still a lot of people not seeing it and not aware of it. Something like this is a beautiful step of putting a focus on it. It makes me so grateful to be a part of it and to contribute.