Next up in our series of Photographers Stories is the Leeds based lensman Reece Leung, who steps to the plate with his five favourite shots from 2013 and the tale behind each.
Have a click through Reece's handpicked shots below now, then head on back tomorrow for more...
Manny Lopez - backside lipslide.
During the winter of 2013 Manny and a handful of guys came up from London to skate some Leeds spots; we were all hyped but it ended up raining, classic British weather. Charlie Munro and his friends were with us too so there was a heavy crew but the weather put a downer on the weekend. We ended up trying to skate the city centre and hit up a few undercover spots to make the most of it. I then thought about this indoor 11 set rail in The Light shopping centre. I’d seen this before always jokingly thinking that someone could skate it, I thought we might as well check it out as we were with some handrail fiends.
Charlie was eyeing up the rail and started to roll up to it so I set up quickly. Manny turned up to the spot a little later than everyone and eyed it up too. Charlie then had a few attempts at a front board; he was getting close. I was sat at the bottom of the stairs expecting Charlie to try the front board and out of nowhere Manny rolled and threw a backlip down it - I thought he was going to land on me - I took a photo anyway having no idea what was going on, and much to mine and everyone else’s surprise, he rolled away from it first go. The whole group we were with went insane, it was ridiculous. No warm up or anything, and he back lipped an 11 stair rail first go. He even came up to me after saying “that rail is so perfect". I just thought he was a mentalist.
Unluckily Charlie got robbed of the front board a couple of attempts after Manny and we ended up getting kicked off instantly by some of the most aggressive security guards I’ve ever witnessed. In the end we were all laughing at them ‘cause we managed to get something and they were too slack at their jobs.
[part title="Chris Mann."]
Chris Mann - slappy switch crook.
I’ve lived in Leeds for about 6 years now and I’ve always walked through the uni thinking it would be sick to shoot the infamous Whippy Banks from an above angle but never actually got round to it or had the opportunity to shoot from that angle because we usually get kicked out by security pretty quickly.
We attempted to skate Leeds city centre hoping it would be dry but it was a standard busy Saturday so it was ridiculously busy everywhere we went. In fact, we skated here after the previously mentioned Manny Lopez indoor backlip. We ended up going to the uni banks as it’s usually a good undercover spot but it can also be hit or miss with security. Chris was getting into a few of these slappy switch crooks so I decided to actually give the angle from above a try. I set up my flashes and headed up to the spot where I wanted to shoot, but once I’d eventually set up I spied some security guards in the distance, which is typical, though luckily they walked off and didn’t notice the guys skating below. At first I was thinking that the angle wouldn’t work with the trick but after a few attempts Chris started getting into them better and was getting closer to landing the trick. He managed to get the trick and the end result of the photo was better than I’d expected.
It’s taken a long time to get up there to shoot from that angle but in the end I think it was well worth it.
Or maybe it’s because Chris Mann has got them angles!
[part title="James Foster."]
James 'Foz' Foster - ollie.
Whilst shooting for Foz’s ‘Haunts’ we were trying to think of some good spots for photos but struggled to only come up with standard Leeds spots we skate all the time. Later that week Foz mentioned that he’d seen a bank in Woodhouse he wanted to skate; he’d noticed it whilst dog walking (if he’s not skating he’s generally dog walking /worshipping). So we thought we’d check it out even though it’s in a rough area of Leeds; we were desperate for some new spots to skate.
As we approached the spot we saw a group of lurkers scattered around the place, we thought the worst but carried on up to take a look anyway. When we got there we were offered to buy drugs instantly (I think every time I’ve been this spot, I’ve been offered drugs…) anyway we declined their well-spoken offer and checked out the spot.
The bank was horrible, it’s pretty much like riding down rough cobbles and you have to thread the needle between some bollards when you reach the bottom of the bank. Foz tested it out by just riding down and after nervously watching him roll away from it the lurkers applauded and were actually hyped on it. Foz then eyed up an ollie over the bollard and I was thinking it wouldn’t work because he’d get stuck in the cracks but I didn’t say anything and left him to it to see what the end result would be.
Another distracting factor about this spot is that it’s next to someone’s garden where they have their two dogs roaming outside, Foz was obviously over the moon but they would bark at any sound of a skateboard. The constant barking was annoying and it ended up stressing out the lurkers who lived in the house and they started to get agitated by us. We told them that they should just lock their dogs back in the house, which they actually did, and that was the problem solved.
I then set-up my camera gear while getting eyed up and asked all sorts of questions by the lurkers but luckily they were being alright. Foz then went straight into it. On one attempt I thought he had it but he landed in the crack and pretty much front flipped off his board but he was fine apparently. He then kept at it and eventually got the ollie over the bollard as he rolled down the bank it was pretty frantic because you thought he would get caught on something but he rolled away from it.
He most likely shouted “Yipppppieeee" as he bombed the hill afterwards.
The lurkers were stoked!
[part title="Vaughan Jones"]
Vaughan Jones - pole jam.
Another standard day in summer, we were skating the DIY spot The Joint and were thinking of hitting some street spots. We set off towards Kirkstall and had a cruise seeing bits and bobs on the way, and eventually we arrived at this bank spot. The banks are rough and pretty similar to a cheese grater, if not worse.
Foz was with us and he wanted to get on top of the roof through the hole, which you can see just above Vaughan’s head in the photo. We gave him a boost to get up there and he scrambled around for a bit and managed to get on top to eye up the roof gap to the bank, which is as ‘mosher’ as you like. He then came back down looking scared.
I saw the white pole and jokingly said it would be sick to make that into a pole jam so you could go off it into the bank. Foz and Vaughan then noticed that the slabs under the pole were quite loose so they manoeuvred the pole around until it gradually angled to create a pole jam. The floor was proper rough so with a bit of DIY from all the guys we found some bits of wood and tape to make the run-up bearable, and then we were sorted and ready to go.
It took a while for anyone to man up to this death trap but Vaughan and Foz both attempted to skate it in turn. After quite a few stressful attempts Vaughan managed to get a straight pole jam in to the bank, Foz also nose-bonked the end of the pole and into the bank.
In the end it was a rad session and all the lads effort paid off.
[part title="Paul 'Man' Silvester."]
Paul 'Man' Silvester - switch backside wallride.
During the end of Summer 2012, Paul decided he would come down from Scotland and skate Leeds to try and get some photos together for his ‘Flexible Heads’ interview. Obviously when Paul mentioned he wanted to shoot some photos in Leeds, I was hyped. He has shut down so many Leeds spots over the years - some of the stuff he has done is still amazing these days, let alone ten or fifteen years ago.
The interview he was working for was his last interview before he immigrated to Canada, so I was glad to be involved. He was down for the week and we were lucky to have some fortunate weather the whole time he was here. He skated every day that week and fully skated ‘til he was done; crazy to think he’s in his late thirties as I definitely couldn’t hack that much skating. This photo is probably one of my favourites from the week. Paul ended up landing this switch backside wallride, which was mental as he was getting so high and it was fully backwards too. Paul seems to have the ability to skate switch and make it look really chilled. Good luck to Paul and his family in Canada - cheers mate!