Our main man in the nation’s capital, Mr Samuel Ashley, kicks off this years Photographers Stories series with five handpicked shots from 2012 and the tale behind each.
Read on below – more stories soon…
This is from the 2012 Adidas Big Push. We’d met up with Horse in Nottingham and he’d taken us to that new plaza place. It’s a really good spot and everyone loved it, everyone except for Benson, it’s not really his thing. Anyway, as is usual for those kind of spots, we got stuck there for a while. I knew that if we went to another ledge type spot after the Plaza, Benson would start going mental.
I’d last been Maple Street a few years ago, I remembered the vert wall being pretty crazy but maybe Benson could do something there. I asked Andy to lead the way. Pretty much as soon as we got into the park Benson was flying up this thing, we all knew it was on.
From a photography point of view it was a bit of a nightmare:Lots of deep shadow but also little areas lit by full sunshine. The quarter is so big that you can’t really put lights where you want them, you’d need a 15-foot lightstand or something, you just have to compromise in these situations. All the foreground stuff in the way was kind of limiting my options too (I got lucky that his arm and body cleared that leaf).
Before I’d had much chance to ponder or stress over these environmental concerns Benson had worked his way up to a legit grind on the rounded lip (no one was even sure whether it was even grindable) and was surfing all the way back down the transition again. Whoa!
Nick and myself had been to the top of St. Paul’s a few years ago; I think I was shooting some cityscapes for Nick so he could use them for reference in his paintings. Of course as soon as we got outside the first thing we checked out was how cool Chalky Ledges looked from up there… We made tentative plans to return at some point so I could shoot Nick skating the ledges from the same viewpoint. As is often the case with the best laid plans they often take a while to implement, and this one was no exception.
Anyway we finally returned on the last day of deadline for Nick’s ‘Word’ interview. I paid my £15 and then once again climbed the stairs to the top; it’s actually quite a lot of steps, especially if you’re carrying a load of camera gear. Mark Jackson actually helped a lot on this, not only manning the mobile phone link with Nick, but also donating his shirt so Nick would stand out better against the flowerbed. I had Nick do loads and loads of these, I was just waiting to get some interesting things going on with all the people walking in and out of the frame. As soon as I saw this one I knew we had it.
This was shot on the Palace and Polar trip to Scandinavia earlier in the year. I remember it took him ages to land it and I was deeply regretting my “lie down on the floor” angle as the temperature slowly dropped. Not too much to say about this one, I think I like it because it’s kind of retro – all fisheye, flashes, and heelflips.
This was Jerome’s last trip for Blueprint as he left for Polar not long after this was taken. I was actually pretty surprised (and stoked) that this made it into the article. The spot is pretty amazing; a perfect concrete wedge thing in front of an epic rock face with caves and stuff. You’d have to be a pretty shit photographer to not come out with something cool from this one. I hid in a bush (I had to, Ches was pissed I’d made him and his 6 camera angles move) and Jerome skidded full speed back tails across this thing. I really like how that bit of rock has the same outline as his leg.
This was a beacon of light on a pretty hellish trip to Malta. Josh had already fucked his ankle by this point and we’d had more than our fair share of non-existent spots and shitty weather. We’d passed this a few times in the van and we weren’t really sure if was doable, I was really surprised when Josh just started jumping over it straight away, especially considering the crappy run up at the top. I was stoked on those pillars with the faces, the white wall behind him and the writing on the hill: “I saw the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by madness”.