In The Zone | Photographer's portraits of young skaters look deep into their subjects' psyche...
Everyone needs a place where they can go to get away from it all. Whether that is a physical place, or just a mental zone where everyday pressures are forgotten and scrambled thoughts can converge on one single action, and things slow down, or get quieter. For Nikki Toole, that escape has always come from skating. Growing up in Scotland, tomboy Nikki wasn’t a sporty child and hated sports day, but found a refuge in skating which filled her with self-confidence. While boarding, Nikki detached from her regular life and spent happy hours in her own head space, and it got her to wondering if other skaters enjoyed that same mental escape.
Nikki set out to answer that question in 2009 in her new home of Melbourne, where skating is a common mode of transport. Out and about in the Fitzroy neighbourhood, she engaged local skaters and asked them to try to access that special zoned out feeling they got when skating. Nikki shot five images of each, and the results were so successful that she decided it was worth expanding the scope of the project internationally. Trips to the USA, Italy, Germany, England and the Czech Republic followed, with a detached retina along the way prompting an operation and a switch to digital photography, but she persevered and now Skater: A Photography Art Book is ready for the world to see.
Original text from WE HEART By Rob Wilkes.