This year's Photographer's Stories kicks off with five photos from the lens of Craig Dodds taken in Belfast and Dublin shot over the past twelve months, accompanied by tales of Dublin spot exploration, security guard run ins and martial arts no complies...
Michael McMaster - Frontside Crailslide, Dublin.
Leaving the icy depths of Northern Ireland, I arrived in Dublin to find it welcomingly warmer. Meeting up with the usual suspects it’s always good seeing old faces and the occasional the fresh one every now and again. Michael is one of those new guys that has blessed the Dublin skate scene with his forever positive attitude, funny shenanigans and Californian accent that we like to frequently rip into, but it’s all love. On one of our many adventures over the past year we ended up crew deep this day exploring the spots that surround Dublin.
With only a short stint here while we played the waiting game for a few people to grab some grub, Michael made short work of this sharp cornered sculpture at the illuminati headquarters.
Marc Beggan - Kickflip, West Belfast.
I spotted this kicker on my routine bus journey via the motorway into Belfast which I’ve taken every other day for about eight years now. We'd always wanted to go check it out but with the intimidating high barbed wire fences and a security hut situated right at the entrance the majority of us were unsure about the impending hassle that lay ahead, so it was quickly forgotten. About a year or so ago though they began knocking down the building that surrounded it, leaving literally just this kicker and some rubble, and slowly each bus journey I watched the security start to fizzle out. It later turned out to be probably one of the easiest break-ins ever, the first fence being climbable with the assistance of a neighbouring garden wall and the next simply miraculously sliding open. With the sun setting quick and no-one being warmed up it was a bit of a panic getting everything in order before the golden moment vanished behind the mountains. Thankfully Beggan’s work legs soon left him and landed it sooner rather than later, making it look like a piece of piss in the process - definitely my favourite shot I’ve taken so far I’d have to say.
Phili Halton - Backside Feeble, Dublin.
This chap has been killing it under the radar in Dublin for longer than I care to think now, so when I heard this photo was going in the next Witness I was well chuffed. Phili’s the guy constantly pumping out the good vibes and keen to keep the session going even after everyone’s been battered and bruised.
It was one of those occasions when we shot this. Hunting out any sort of dimly lit spot while we desperately drove round the outskirts of the city, we ended up here at a quiet apartment complex which probably wasn’t the best idea to avoid harassment from the public. While the noise of our wheels and clanging of the handrail proceeded to echo around this small entrance we began to worry our time might be running out. Phili took some seriously stomach churning hang ups on this feeble as well but after a long battle and one broken board he rolled it away, much to the relief of the security guard who said he’d been getting an earful of complaints.
Paddy Lynn - No Comply, Laganside, Belfast.
Fat Pat, I mean?! Sorry, Thin PLynn… he’s been on a strict diet of Brazilian jujitsu, tuna, smoking weed, skating, tuna, cycling and tuna. It’s made the world of difference for him considering he has had three knee surgeries over the years and injuries these days won’t even last him nearly half as long as they used to. Mixing in the crane technique with the no comply and of course plenty of dolphin meat he executed this no comply across this grating and fly kicked the nearest spide in the throat straight after.
Marc Beggan - 360 Flip, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
I’ve watched this guy huck this trick across some seriously lengthy opponents over the years. Spending more time outside than inside when we ever showed our ugly faces at the Titanic Museum, I found myself one day dandering around its stunning insides for a photography job I did a while back and this angle quickly caught my eye as I was leaving via the third floor. We had already shot this trick in the past here, but it was dark and I ballsed the photo up. Thankfully enough time had passed to avoid that awkward asking moment all skate photographers must go through. I informed our Marc of the new discovery and like always he was keen to give it a shot. We patiently waited until we got a good sunny day, which is a rare occasion it seems in Ireland even when its summer. Eventually it rolled around and we waited for our break in the clouds, getting it just before fists were swung by the always well-tempered security.