Branden del Rio
The Irene Carlson Gallery hosted the opening reception for Herman Jimenez’s “Clip Mission” exhibition, a collection of photographs of skate culture on Oct. 21.
The show is composed of 24 black and white photographs, which capture a healthy mixture of portraits and action shots of skaters performing various tricks.
“I invited Hermie because he was a graduate, and after graduation he went straight to work,” Gary Colby, professor of photography said of Jimenez, who is a 2009 alumnus of the University of La Verne.
According to Jimenez the photographs were taken over the span of several years, beginning in 2002 and up until very recently, and were shot in various locations ranging from Simi Valley to Downtown Los Angeles.
Most of the photographs are taken of friends or people he has met through skating, Jimenez said.
“Paul Rodriguez over there rides for Nike. He’s like the (Michael) Jordan of skate,” Jimenez said as he motioned to a portrait of Paul Rodriguez Jr., who has competed and won in several X Games and also starred in the film “Street Dreams.”
Many other photographs feature well-known skaters such as Chaz Ortiz, Nick Tucker and Torey Pudwill.
Jimenez said that because he took the photographs over several years, he used several different cameras including Nikon D3s and Nikon D2Hs.
In several photographs he uses a 16 millimeter fisheye lens which makes the photographs look like it is seen through a bubble, with the middle section expanded and the edges shrunk, which adds a different perspective to the photographs.
All of the photographs are digital images with the exception of one which was taken with film.
A few members of Jimenez’s family and friends attended the event.
During the reception Jimenez’s sister brought a large platter of cupcakes.
The elegantly frosted sweets were placed on an elaborate miniature skateboard platter which was hand-made by Jimenez’s family.
Walking through the long hallway of the Carlson Gallery, many loud side discussions about the various photos could be heard.
“I think some of them have an interesting way of freezing time and space,” Kevin Bowman, photography department manager, said.
“This one right here looks like [the skateboarder] is falling right out of the sky,” Bowman said of one picture which Jimenez took by placing his camera on the grass and shooting upward.
Some of the photographs utilize synthetic lights which cast vivid and sharp shadows of the skaters as they perform their tricks.
One such picture features a skater doing a 180 degree spin over a stair rail in an urban setting.
The photograph was taken in mid air and with the use of synthetic lights his dark shadow is cast on the wall behind him.
Danielle Burgess, sophomore biology major, pointed out two of her favorite photos.
“I really like the guy with his head down. It shows that he has emotion and you can really feel it. And I like the one with the guy sending a text message because it’s just so typical,” she said.
Others really enjoyed the photograph of Rodriguez standing in the foreground and a blurred 18-wheeler in the background.
The short depth of field allows viewers to better focus on the skater.
“The guy himself is photogenic as it is. His posture, he just looks so relaxed,” Adam Alvarez, sophomore psychology and photography major, said of the simplicity of the photo.
The photographs will remain on display in the Carlson Gallery through Dec. 10.
Branden del Rio can be reached at email@example.com.