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California Concrete - A Landscape of Skateparks

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California Concrete - A Landscape of Skateparks

Amir Zaki

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Southern California is the birthplace of skateboard culture and, even though skateparks may be found worldwide today, it is where these parks continue to flourish as architects, engineers and skateboarders collaborate to refine their designs. The artist Amir Zaki grew up skateboarding, so he has an understanding of these spaces and, as someone who has spent years photographing the built and natural landscape of California, he has a deep appreciation of the large concrete structures not only as sculptural forms, but also as significant features of the contemporary landscape, belonging to a tradition of architecture and public art. To capture the images in this book, Zaki photographed in the early-morning light, climbing inside the bowls and pipes while there were no skaters around. Each photograph is a composite of dozens of shots taken with a digital camera mounted on a motorized tripod head. The resulting images are incredibly high resolution and can be printed at a large scale with no loss of detail. Their look is unusual in that Zaki’s lens is somewhat telephoto, which has the effect of flattening space, yet the angle of view is often quite wide, which exaggerates spatial depth. The technology also allows Zaki to photograph certain areas from difficult positions that would otherwise be impossible to capture. Zaki makes the point that, by climbing deep inside these spaces, the visual experience is fundamentally different from viewing them from outside. In his text, Tony Hawk one of world’s best-known professional skateboarders describes how Zaki’s photographs of empty skateparks and open skies evoke memories of the idyllic freedom and the sense of potential that he felt when he first visited a skatepark as a child and saw skaters flying like birds in and out of the concrete pools and bowls. AUTHOR: Amir Zaki is an artist based in Southern California. 80 colour images

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