Sarah Meurle is a Swedish skateboarder; her other great passion is photography. She shoots skateboarding from time to time but her photographic work bends in a far more original and experimental direction. Here, she talks us through her five favourite pictures, and tells us why she believes coming from a Nordic nation, with long dark bleak winters, has not hindered her creativity. If anything the opposite is true.
Arto Saari / Nike
The first camera I ever had was a gift from my dad's friend. It was this blue plastic camera from Camel, (yes, the cigarette brand). But around the age of twelve or so I remember I had one that was a Kodak which shot APS film. At 16 when I was at the Bryggeriet high school I studied photography and I bought a digital camera, a Nikon d80. I used that for two years and then my friend Alana Paterson gave me her old Nikon f100 which brought me back to analogue.
I am more interested in the overall feeling of a bigger portion of photographs than the subject itself. I enjoy abstractions and the perception of light, sometimes transformed by the camera, and sometimes I take it a step further and use other techniques in the darkroom in order to leave room for “mistakes", I do a lot of works that are cameraless as well.
"I enjoy abstractions and the perception of light…"
I’ve been studying photography for three years now. And there’s really nothing more inspiring than looking at your friends' works, talking about it and helping each other evolve. I get waves of inspiration where I get a lot of ideas, and sometimes none.
Travelling and spending some days alone can help to gather thoughts sometimes and be very inspiring for taking pictures. I spend a lot of time going to exhibitions and looking at books as well.
I saw an artist talk with Rinko Kawauchi a couple of years ago, since then I’ve been a big fan of her work. Her book “Illuminance" is amazing. I really enjoy some of Wolfgang Tillmann's work, and Walead Beshty has some great ideas when it comes to thinking in new ways around photography.
A photo I wish I'd taken? The first photo that pops up into my mind is one made by Rinko Kawauchi that’s a picture of a tree in front of a cloud. The two forms fits perfectly together, as if she stumbled upon this beautiful coincidence and captured it. So simple but so good.
"Having less options or possibilities can also help your creativity."
Shooting skateboarding it can be a challenge to live in a Nordic country. You have less time, and darker and colder seasons where it's harder to shoot outside. But in general I’ve never thought of it as a problem, having less options or possibilities can also help your creativity. Sweden is also quite good in terms of supporting artists with scholarships for projects, I think that’s an advantage and eventually I hope that can be something I can take part of.
I was wandering around, just observing and saw a shade appearing that made this roadblock look even more three-dimensional. What I like the most about the photo is that once I processed it I noticed there was more in the picture than what my eye could see when I took it. The somewhat unexpected and the camera's ability to make the invisible visible is very interesting to me. Shot with my Yashica T5. Natural light.
This is a photo taken around the corner from where I live in Gothenburg. I’ve passed by this light reflection many times without a camera, without a friend, and just enjoyed the vision. On this particular day Alexis Sablone was staying at my house and we passed it once again, with a little stop and I took the shot with the Yashica T5, natural light.
This is a cameraless photograph. An abstraction of light I created with the use of 120mm film that is manipulated by me in a dark room. I made a series of these printed in a large format, if you look at the negatives themselves it looks like there is nothing on there, but once they are scanned you realise there is a whole world of colours and shapes hiding in there.
Here’s a recent skate photo that I shot during a day of skating in Malmö with Poetic Collective. We had a mission to shoot as much as we could from morning til evening, I was the assigned photographer, this is Samuel Norgren doing a b/s Wallride on the new Tony Cragg sculptures at the plaza. I shot this whole story both analogue and digital to be able to get a mix of both in there. The fisheye picture in the foreground is shot with a Panasonic gh4, and the background is shot with my Nikon f100, that tends to give a bit of light leaks every now and then. (50 mm lens).
This one is taken during a skate trip in Berlin with Poetic Collective. We were staying in an apartment that had this great view over the street beneath us. Me on the balcony, Klas Andersson doing a b/s powerslide aligning nicely with the lines of the streets asphalt patches. Nikon f100, 50 mm, natural light.
You can see more of Sarah Meurle's work at her website sarahmeurle.com
While her Instagram is more focused on skateboarding; @smeurle_
Her next exhibition is with her class in April 2018, at Röda Sten, Gothenburg and she has a new graphic coming out within the next few days for Poetic Collective, which is based on a photogram she made.