Trevor Graves' 6 Favourite Snowboarding Pictures

This week: episode 159 guest Trevor Graves talks us through six of his favourite shots from one of snowboarding’s most legendary photographic careers.

1. Scott Clum, Frontside Air, NY, 1985

The pioneering days of snowboarding can never be recreated. Deep down in my soul, I have a little place that holds some pride for being part of that movement.

Scott had this spot in mind and watched the storms so knew it would be prime to hit on this day. At the time we had a PIN number to use on the telephone to make ‘free’ long-distance phone calls. It was rumoured to be Burt Reynolds’ PIN number. Scott would call his brother up in South New Berlin, New York to see if it had snowed. The next step was to pile into Scott’s car and pool money to put gas in the tank. Five dollars was enough to get there and back. Next to Scott on the front seat was a little boom-box with a mixtape of alternative music. Tones on Tail ‘Go’ was a popular road trip song.

Scott was a pro for Sims at the time, and this board was the first one with steel edges. The fashion was to wear a wetsuit to keep your butt from getting all wet while you strapped in, a comfy pair of Sorrel boots, and a pullover windbreaker. The location was a farmer’s field. We jumped a barbed wire fence and carved a tranny out of the wind-drifted snow. Scott took a few mock runs at it to pack out the run-in. The big goal was to not bail, because a bombhole in the take off or landing would end the session.

We rallied back to the college photo darkroom to process the Tri-X film we shot that day. At about two o’clock in the morning, we would see that day’s images and make plenty of prints to share and send to our ‘zine’ buddies, like ‘Mr. Clean’ out of Buffalo.

2. Dale Rehberg, Tongue, Island Lake, early 90s

When this came out in SNOWBOARDER magazine the phone rang. "Is that Photoshop? How did he do that!?” 

This is all analog! I came up with the concept for this the shot in a dream, I swear. Dale was the only guy for this shot. I knew we were going to hook up at the Ride shoot in Island Lake. I prepared everything and brought it with me to the shoot.

Dale was a fashion trendsetter in the 90s and had a pierced tongue. That was the secret mojo in this shot. The dining fork had 3 of the 4 prongs clipped off and the middle prong went right thru the hole in Dale's tongue. The dartboard was there to help the viewer understand that the fork went thru his tongue and stuck in the cork of the dart board. I had him furrow his brow to look like he was in pain. I knew we had a killer image, and couldn't wait to show the industry.

The images was later seen by Sony Playstation and we recreated the whole thing for their advertising. I think it was put on the side of a RIDE demo van too. Thanks Dale

3. Jeff Brushie, Melon to Fakie, Stratton, Vermont, 1992

Classic Brushie style! By this time Brush had a few victories under his belt, and we managed to pull off a night shoot after the US Open event. At this point, this was just like old times. 

Keep in mind this night shoot was super ghetto fabulous. I would drag a 4000 watt generator from the parking lot to the side of the pipe on top of my snowboard. On the early shoots I used a Novatron studio strobe package (all running off 400 watt power). I think I was onto a Speedotron by this time. We would use Lowe 500 watt Tungsten lights to give the riders some sense of where the landings were, and to add that ambient blur swirling around the action. The Home Depot shop lights and portable Pro Photo lighting systems hadn't been invented yet. .I would also have an assistant hold the strobe head and literally shoot the riders as they poked at the apex of their trick. ‘Stobie Wan Kanobi’ was the affectionate title given to this poor soul who would need to endure the freezing temperatures as the night set in.

But forget all that wizardry, and just check Jeff's STEEZE. Full boned melon to fakie, full head of dreads and a deadpan stare into the centre of the camera lens. BAM!

4. Dave Downing, Wire Walker, Las Lenas, Argentina, 2000ish

I got some angry calls from my peer group on this one. Digital photography wasn't invented yet, but I had done some major Photoshop shoots for Ecko Unlimited so it was definitely in my range to Photoshop a guy on a ski lift cable. But the truth of the matter is that this shot is all organic! No Photoshop required; it was created with old fashioned elbow grease.

Dave, Marcus Egge and myself saw this shot and worked all day on digging the perfect in-run to the cable. The secret ingredient here was that this lift was closed due to an avalanche that had taken down the lift tower. The cable had fallen down and stretched across the top of a knoll on the ski slope, which meant there was a decent landing about 20 feet down the cable. 

We pushed snow for what felt like about six hours to get the incline of the in-run to meet with the cable at a very slight pitch. This low angle was required because when Dave hopped onto the cable it would flex and bounce him off. It was very important to Dave to make sure that he could actually and officially jib this cable or the still shot would be bogus and unuseable. We used a 14mm lens, Fuji Velvia film, f5.6 at 1000.

In the end Dave actually slid the cable perfectly a total of about four times. I am literally just standing with my head next to the cable to get this shot. In the meantime the other 20 Burton riders were sessioning a 20 foot table top, seen in the lower right of the frame. They were done for the day by the time we were able to get this image.

5. Jamie Lynn, Baker Road Gap, Mt. Baker 1997

The Baker Road gap isn’t actually that gnarly. However, for pros coming thru the ranks, it’s a symbol that you’ve made it to the big leagues. Here, in true North West style, Jamie Lynn showcases the ultimate in method airs.

6. Josh Dirksen, Day Ender, St. Anton, Austria 1999

This shot won the LIFESTYLE category in Dani Kiwi Meier's photo event the Crystal Awards. The event brought photog/rider teams from around the globe to shoot categories like Best Turn, Best Cliff, Best Sequence and Best Panorama. you can check it here:

Everyone was given 100 rolls of film and a lift pass. At the end of a week we all voted for the winners. It was an amazing experience to be part of it. Riding with Dirksen is always amazing. Kiwi is the king of putting on an event. I feel very fortunate to be invited to participate. If you get a chance to ride St. Anton, do it!