Maria is a stoked skater who kills it behind the lens. She has photographed various dance comps and got to chill out in LA for 4 weeks earlier this year. Read on about her.
Hi Maria, how are you?
Hi! I’m pretty fine! Thanks and you?
Great. Good weekend?
Yes! I visited a friend of mine and we went skating and we took the first pics for my new photo project Girls in Longboarding. That was fun!
What’s the project about?
A few weeks ago, while I had been on a skate trip in LA, I met some great skate girls, I realized that I want to portrait more girls in longboarding and there was the idea of that project!
Are you from America?
No, I am not, wish I could live there, haha. I am from Germany.
What took you to LA?
It was a kind of crazy, but I got invited to stay there in a skaters house and so I got my flight and there I was! Pretty spontaneous and a lot of happy accidents!
You crossed the atlantic to stay with strangers?
I met some last summer in Berlin at a dancing contest, but to be be honest… I think you’re right! It was an adventure and I don’t regret it at all!
When did you start skating?
I started a few years ago with skateboarding. I wanted to learn it for such a long time so I got myself a skateboard without knowing if I would be able to stand on it! It worked, but without other skaters I wasn’t that comfortable. Unfortunately, I didn’t move on that, then I tried a friend’s longboard in Spain and I fell in love with it in the first moment and it was clear; I always wanted to skate a Longboard!
How did you start longboarding?
From the first time on a longboard it took almost a year I think until I got my own. I decided with a Spanish friend, that she would to start in Spain and me in Germany and we’re going to meet the next summer for skating together and we did! But I really started intensely when I watched my first contest.
Is there a big longboard community in your city?
No, not really, but we have some people doing dancing and free riding.
What was the first contest you attended?
It was the ”so you think you can dance on a longboard contest” in Eindhoven in February, 2013.
Who did you enjoy watching?
I remember when I saw Lotfi dancing and doing his freestyle tricks… that was just WOW!
You travelled all the way to Holland just to watch?
I did! I traveled so much for skating the past year! And I love it. It changed my life and made it so much better! And I won’t stop.
When did you start taking photos?
I started taking pictures at the Eurodance 2013, in Berlin! I was so excited and waited for weeks for capturing it! I didn’t have my camera with me at the contests before, so I was pretty sad. At the Eurodance, I just wanted to take pictures for me, because it’s so hard seeing good moments and not being able to keep them haha. When I published them on Facebook, the response was AMAZING! I got so many messages saying ”thank you for the photos”, from total strangers, it was such a special moment!
You’d never taken photos before that?
I did, but I never did photos of skating or longboarding before.
How did the good response affect you?
It felt so good that I made memories to share!
Do you enjoy shooting skating?
I do! Because there is so much love in it… now I sound like a hippie.
What do you try to capture when you’re shooting?
Maybe it’s this love for skating; having fun, enjoying it, feeling the passion of skating. Without it the pictures don’t work.
What kind of skating do you enjoy?
I love dancing! And my lovely roomies and friends from LA taught me how to slide… it’s so much fun and I was so scared about it before!
What adventures did you have last year?
I think travelling the whole time was an adventure, it started at the Eurodance and then we visited the Foreign Exchange Tour in some spots, we just came around and had an awesome time meeting new and incredible people!
What was your involvement with the FX: Tour?
We were just travelling, skating and I was taking pictures of it and enjoying it.
Who is we?
Two girls from my home city Bielefeld.
Where were you shooting/skating after that?
Little by little the winter showed up and it got more difficult to skate. I visited friends in Amsterdam or went to Cologne to skate and visit friends. This year started with the contest in Bocholt and after that I spent almost four weeks in the US.
Where did you visit while you were there?
In the summer I got in touch with some people from Loaded and we talked a few month later, they offered me to visit them! That was incredible for me in that moment and it was totally unexpected! They offered me to stay at the ambassador house and told me about my roomies. I only knew one of them from a few videos, but I was too scared of free riding and downhilling at this point, so I didn’t pay that much attention to all the videos (I was in dancing and expected a huge dancing scene in LA, because it comes from there, but unfortunately there wasn’t). So I barely knew anyone there were also two ambassadors from Mexico and Uruguay! It was a very nice and lovely group of skaters I’ve been with and I took them all to my heart!
When I arrived there, I got in touch for the first time with free riding. Never saw it before live, only from videos. I joined them when they went to their amazing skate spots and I took pictures! I was pretty stoked! They also taught me how to slide. It was pretty painful, but I don’t regret it at all, I had so much fun skating and being with them! I will never forget this experience and I am so grateful to the whole Loaded and Orangatang Team! And I want to go back as soon as possible!
Wow. Ari must really like your photography!
Ari is such a funny guy! Unfortunately he had an accident a couple of weeks before, so he wasn’t able to skate. What a bummer! We joined the Gel Lab both taking photos.
What are your weapons of choice?
I use a digital reflex camera and two different lenses, nothing more… small equipment, I need to expand it, but it’s so expensive!
Did you shoot any events while you were out there?
No, unfortunately I missed the big events, so I only went to the Gel Labs.
Was the community different to what you know in Europe?
It was, but it has the same cool and lovely people, only doing other stuff with their longboards.
How was it different?
LA is a huge city, there are so many people skating everywhere and there are so many cool events going on every week! AND there are so many awesome skate spots! It’s really a skating paradise; if you skate there, you’ll miss it badly!
What gave you the biggest smiles while you were out there?
It was the whole stay, it was totally different to my life back in Germany and I really enjoyed it! But when I did my first Colemans, it was so incredible! Each time I was so afraid and jumped off my board after a few meters and afterwards I climbed higher and pushed down… it was an amazing to progress. Taking photos all the time was very nice and I really enjoyed that as well!
Why did you decide to start your portrait project?
I was hanging out with Amanda Caloia and Micaela Wilson (Longboard Girls Crew) she came to stay for a few weeks to the Ambassador House; unfortunately right before I left, so we only had a few days together. The three of us went to Mount Washington and took pictures and we talked about the girls in longboarding and enjoyed our time together very much! When I saw the pictures afterwards, it was clear to me that I wanted to go on with it! It was so impressive and motivating seeing these girls shredding so hard and going for it!
What do you hope to achieve?
Every time when I see girls skating it makes me smile and everywhere I see people skating I am watching out for girls. The girls scene is growing and that’s awesome! It’s wonderful seeing them between all these skater guys giving their best and enjoying it so much! I want to show these girls, support them and motivate other girls to starting skating!
How can you help the female community grow?
Most of the girls I met so far in longboarding started because they saw other girls skating, like from the Longboard Girls Crew and so did I! So my contribution would be taking photos, showing awesome girls and motivate others with it!
Is it important to support girls in skating?
It is! There are so many girls out there that need a little motivation. There is still a difference between men and women skating; for example, in contests, there are fewer runs for girls or prizes are significantly lower than for men. So there is still a need for improvement.
Is “Girls in Longboarding” a book/website?
So far it’s just the project, but there is already a homepage, but it will need some time to be finished. Maybe it’s going to be a book, who knows? I just started taking pictures.
How is your project different from Andre’s?
He is such a nice guy and studies at the same university! There some differences, he does it analog and he captures the whole scene at their events. My plan is to show the girls in longboarding, meet and get to know them, hang out with them and portrait them in different ways. Photos showing them as a person but also in action, doing a trick, shredding downhill; and I also would love to do a little interview with them to present them better.
Who will be featured?
All the girls that skate for their life and feel their passion for it!
What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
I love dancing, but like I told you I’ve just started sliding, so I will definitely go on with that as well! Last weekend I tried the bowl for the first time, so lets see how it’ll work out!
How is 2014 so far?
It’s awesome! Still can’t believe all the adventures I had in the past few months! I was almost all around skating! Two contests, my trip to the US and now my new project! I NEVER expected so much response to it! SOOOO stoked about that! It just got 900 Likes on Facebook in one month… incredible.
Was SYTYCLD more fun this time?
It was! My first time was incredible but I didn’t know anyone there! But this year I even planned my trip like still being able to go to Eindhoven and I met so many lovely people again! A huge reunion! Was great.
What was the second contest?
Bocholt, a dancing contest.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
That’s a very difficult question! I am curious as well! But I’ll go on with Girls in Longboarding and go to events, meet my skate friends, take pictures! But I also need to finish my studies. I started another project, a combination of skating and my studies, it’s an eBook about Longboard Dancing for beginners, so that will take a lot of my attention as well.
I would love to participate in the Womens Longboard Camp in Stuttgart, but it was sold out after a few hours! So my fingers crossed and maybe it’ll work out, that would be incredible and a cool combination with my project! AND, I also need to go back to LA! So that’s quite a lot of plans, but it’s all about skating! That’s awesome!
Will we see you taking photos at any German races?
I never did photos at racing but I’d love to! So let’s see where the next opportunity for that is.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-40.
2, 13, 21.
2 – In a Zombie apocalypse, who would you wish to survive?
My loved ones!
13 – Do you have a pet?
No, there is not time for a pet, but I would love to have a dog!
Maria Maria, you remind me of a westside story! Ha. Thanks a lot for your time and being a generous photographer. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.
Thanks Gbemi! Was also very nice talking to you! Curious to meet you one day!
Any last words?
Go for your dreams, live life and let nothing stop you from skating!