Thanks to Allen Ying for being down to answer some questions I had about the newest 43! I was super curious to interview him about this issue because it's a dope one. Not that they all aren't. One of the photos in the issue has quickly become a viral one as well. That photo being the one shown below. All photos provided by my iphone.
I noticed online the subway ollie photo has become viral in that it's been covered by everyone from the normal skateboarding outlets to Reddit and the Daily Mail. What has the general response been to the photo? Yeah people are pretty amazed by it I guess. The internet has turned it into an extreme photo of the day thing - I guess it makes sense that would happen. But that's not the intention of it, it's part of a project and series. It's cool though. The subway skating project is amazing. Maybe not everyone understands what makes it amazing, but it is on a lot of different levels.
What exactly is the subway skating project?
Colin Read who goes by Mandible Claw made a subway skating video clip about a year and a half ago. He was working for slap at the time so it was on youtube for Slap, which also went really viral. It was reposted by similar internet outlets. I don't know how long he's been working on the new 2nd segment for, but around December I started going along with them. He's the mastermind behind it, and he has a crew of dudes he works with.
Who's idea was it to ollie over a subway track?
I'm not sure if any on person had the idea. Cooper found the track at 145th street. There was possibly enough runway on one side. The side where he landed was just enough to land and not fall into the next set of tracks. You know how a lot of the subway platforms have those yellow bumps, this platform didn't which also made it possible.
Can you tell me a little about the skateboarder who ollied the filthy NYC void?
I actually just met him that night. He goes by Koki. He's an M.I.A skateshop local from florida. Colin and the crew were homies with him. They had scouted it out, but the question was who would be down to try it. It's pretty burly, especially with the third rail factor. We asked only 1 or 2 people and he was down to try it.
How many tries did it take?
I didn't remember this but at the photo show (ny) he reminded me. He stuck it first try, landed on it and fell off. Which was pretty amazing. Second try he landed it and fell a different way. And then the third time I don't know if you saw the footage but he actually bailed and fell into the track going really fast. And the last time he landed it and rolled away.
No I didn't see the video. Damn that's scary. What was the general reaction of the crowd in the station? Any surprising or weird ones?
There were people on their way to work at 430am. Not a crowded station, but enough where we were drawing some attention, people were crowding around behind us. Some people were scared and worried and some people were siked.
Forget Koki what about you bumming around in that track- were you nervous every time you felt rats running by that a train might be approaching??
Haha! You could see a train coming pretty far on a straight track. We were careful about it. Me and Colin were in the tracks, we would know if a train was coming.
So it was easy to hop up? It was pretty gross. Kind of hard with the camera but not impossible. So, if a train was approaching how fast do you think you could have gotten out of there?
I think there would have been plenty of time to hop out. The whole story is actually in the magazine, so I don't want to give away too much.
As a society we're constantly bombarded by images, and even within skateboarding it's become normalized to this insanely surreal standard of talented skateboarders. What elements do you look for when you decide to run a photo in 43?
Basically the photography has to be on point. And on point doesn't necessarily mean technically perfect photography wise. It's hard to explain. Some photos have a feeling. There's the photo quality, the skating, and who the skater is. I think people are more siked on seeing skaters that they have heard of or seen footage of. Skaters who the viewer can relate to their skating beyond just one trick in a photo.
When you started 43 magazine what was your goal when you set out to create your own version of a skateboard magazine?
I have a few different goals. I guess the main one being for skateboarding to have a magazine that is from a different perspective...
Than what's already out there?
Yeah, to have a magazine that has a visual aesthetic more sensible to what I look for as a skateboarder. New York is the center for so much culture, art, and publishing. There's always been a skate scene here, so it's pretty overdue to have a skateboard magazine based in NY where the aesthetic is influenced by these things.
Do you believe a perfect skate photo exists? If so which one?
Nah. I mean who decides what's perfect? You know, some of the best photos are when there're imperfections that make 'em in a way perfect again. So it's kind of a strange way to describe a photo.
Ha it was a trick question. Outside of skateboarding, what magazines, zines, or publications past or present inspire you?
Presently, the truth is that I haven't had time to keep up with a lot of magazines. Not specific titles at least. There's kind of a lot of magazines lately that seem pretty new, whether they're art, fashion, photo, music, food, or mixed. They all have a higher quality or crafty vibe more so then the way mass market magazines have been. I'm more inspired by type of publishing, and the lack of it in skateboarding, especially in the US.
All the skate magazines have definitely inspired me in different ways in different years. Most recently, Grey in London, Fluff in Amsterdam.. Everytime I see TWS lately, I am thoroughly impressed. Their photographers are great and the art direction has improved. Almost everybody I mention it to has said they noticed too.
Who would you love to grace the cover of 43?
I don't really think about it that much, I like to it happen more organically. I haven't though, "oh I need to get so and so for a cover". I know that might work for some magazines, but I don't like the idea of forcing skateboarding. When we're editing options for cover, we prefer to pick someone who's been around and killing it for a while. it sounds kind of obvious, but sometimes you see covers of a kid who's hot now but might be gone in a year.
Can you tell me more about the team that helps you make 43 magazine a reality?
For sure, 43 would not exist without the volunteer staff. Cole Giordano has been on board for a while now, we handle everything, from editing to sales, budgeting, logistics, shipping, lots of spreadsheets. Cooper Winterson has been helping a lot, with scanning as well as all the other stuff. Eby Ghafarian and Zander Taketomo had been a big help with editing issue 003. Alex Konsevick helped with laying out issue 003. Ryan Maggio just started helping out. There are others, it's almost like a food co-op.
What other photos and features can people expect to see in the newest issue of 43?
This issue happens to be an all New York City issue, with a variety of locals and visitors. I think it's pretty unique, having a bit of a locals perspective, and a lot of spots that haven't really been published yet. Aside from the subway skating article, there is an article on static iv, which i think is super special, being a long term video project with so much history behind it.
Finally, what's up with that live third rail?
Well that third rail is where electricity runs. It can kill you. You can stand on it, but there's a guard on the top of it. I stood on it when i was in college. But it's still sketchy being that close to touching the actual rail, i was sketched out and stayed away. Yeah. Still sounds sketchy. Thanks again for the Q & A!