"Wildflowers. 1993-1999" Interview with Jesse Birch

"So this is a photo of my friend Leif Brooke who was and is an incredible skateboarder. We were both in high school, probably around grade 11 or grade 12. And we would skate together a lot. Around this time, I had the opportunity to borrow a camera that belonged to the Nanaimo District Secondary School. And it was like an ancient camera from the 70s called a Pentax Spotmatic, but somehow it had a fisheye lens. And for someone who wanted to learn about photography and who loved skateboarding, it was amazing to be able to play with this iconic kind of lens at that time. And there was also a pack of filters that came with the lens so I put a yellow filter behind it because I don't know, I just thought it would be kind of cool to like play with exposure and experiment.
So Leif's doing like a pretty high, flat out noseslide down this handrail at Woodgrove mall, which I think still exists but is probably overgrown with bushes. At the time, the bowl at Bowen Park was there. But that was it. So we just skated everywhere all around town. And that's an amazing thing about skateboarding, that the documentation of the skateboarding is like, part of the creative process of the act, and even more so now as in people being able to photograph and film each other and look at the images immediately. But at the time, you know, it was a real learning curve. And so I was lucky to have friends like Leif, who are such good skateboarders that I can learn photography and actually be able to take decent photos because you know, everything that Leif did looked good. So it didn't matter. It didn't matter that my composition wasn't as amazing as it as it could have been. (laughs) Yeah, another thing I like about this photo is that it's such a time capsule, like the Airwalk shoes he's wearing, the tiny wheels. The orange pants, cut off jogging pants I think or something really, really baggy. Maybe they like New Deal pants or something."

 Lief Brooke Street Bone in 1993

"This was taken at this place in Vancouver called the clubhouse which is a pretty like iconic spot in east Van. Yeah, there was a vert ramp I believe and a mini ramp, and then like a small area with street obstacles which this photo depicts Stephen Wilke who was a friend who was actually studying at VIU at the time. So this would have been probably like I would think like 95 and we like took the ferry over just to skate that I think it was in the middle of winter and in Nanaimo all we had was the underground so like we actually would trek to Vancouver just to skate this spot. But yeah, a few things that I, when I'm looking at it, I really like is just like the atmosphere of seeing all these like, other skaters standing around and this one kid has the hugest pants. Like, I don't know, it does really capture like the energy of the moment."

"Wildflowers. 1993-1999"
2 Lois Lane Nanaimo B.C.
Friday October 29, 7-10pm