In a change of the tides, countercultural sports that have been dominated by masculinity and male professionals for years are seeing a rise in women's participation and thriving underground crews are slowly being uncovered. Ive never understood how women were so out of the spotlight, and what kind of fuckwhitterry would lead to the exclusion of the female sex in sports where going against the grain is so heavily promoted. Its so good to finally see women being showcased more and more for their talents. Not only that but they rip, legit.
Charlotte Thomas set out to document a female subculture raised on skateboarding.
Having skated since the age of 16, when a spinal injury at 29 threw a curve ball into her passion, Charlotte had to take more of a backseat.
It was in this unfortunate turn of events she found another way to remain firmly planted within the culture and began shooting skateboarding full time.
“Not skating anymore left a huge hole in my life and I still wanted to be a part of the scene even if I wasn’t skateboarding” says Charlotte. “So I picked up a camera and started photographing my friends. The idea of the book came from my first photograph experience producing some work for Sidewalk, the UK skateboard mag. They asked me to photograph and interview pro-skater Stef Nurding. Spending a weekend with her and creating her photos inspired the project.
“Concrete Girls aims to celebrate a side of the UK scene that Charlotte feels has been missing from documentation or general discussion. “Not enough people at the time were talking about the scene and these women in the book were empowering and inspiring myself and other girls to get into the sport” she says.
“I wanted to produce a book of memories for them and the scene! I call it my retirement piece and I hope it will inspire a younger generation to start skateboarding. They can own a piece of skateboarding history.”
Charlotte’s approach to the portraits and skate photos in Concrete Girls is very much collaborative: they meet up and discuss what kind of trick they want to photograph, and the two work on getting the best spots and angles together. “I shoot 35mm film and digital, I like to mix it up and not to have that polished look,” says Charlotte. “I see skateboarding as a very raw thing and I want to portray this through my work.”
Charlotte is a skateboarder, shoot producer and photographer, who’s spent her career working for Topshop and Topman as a shoot producer before pursuing a freelance photography career. Past clients have included Vogue, Topshop, Vans, New Balance amongst many other skateboard brands.
When not shooting skateboarding, she can be found photographing London Fashion Week and Menswear Shows backstage and for designers, plus editorial campaigns for brands.
Concrete Girls will be released Friday 29th June 2018, with a launch Gallery in London on the 21st June 2018