Capturing A Scenic Day In Atlanta: Dressing Up, Skating & Simply Enjoying Youth
Growing up, I've seen a lot of John Hughes movies.
His movies captured a singular moment in life that passed away so quickly, the ones that we have no control over. These moments were mainly manifested as prom scenes, cafeteria scenes, or "It's the first day of school and I will show off my Cadillac" scenes. I loved it all. It made me long for a memory that wasn't my own. All these scenes had a cool group of people who had very unique styles with a lot of gel in their hair in common and I wanted to be in that group of people complaining about high school and sucky parents. These films made me want to have a memory shared with them, even though the memory itself seemed so mundane. Likewise, I've always enjoyed photographs that seem to capture an ordinary moment that pulls you in, wishing that you had a specific role inside the frame. I felt the same when I saw Q'ayyim' and Josiah's portrayal of a group of friends skating in Atlanta. Josiah shot all the photographs with the help of Q'ayyim's creative directing.
It seems to be just another day for those people, enjoying their time together and showing each other their moves. The sense of community was radiating through the pictures and people looked so effortless, so at ease. Seeing these pictures, I instantly wished I could skate, living in Atlanta hanging out with these people, being in the frame with them.
Concept-wise the images have the same energy with the cinematography of mid90's, a movie about a 13-year-old kid trying to have a role midst of other older skateboarders. The shots represent the camaraderie of skateboarders, a day in their life, the connections that they have with one and other, and their unique sense of style in a very pure and unsaturated way. However when it comes to background, this photography sequence called "Bat-Tziyon Adams!" have other inspirations.
"Bat Tziyon Adams! is an expanded idea from a photo-story universe. Bat-Tziyon Adams! (daughter of Zion/Excellence) is an uncredited background extra from classic television shows such as Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, All Grown Up!, Power Rangers and Daria. The photo project documents a day in the life of skateboard's newest phenomenon Bat-Tziyon Adams." explains Mckoy. "During the development of the project, I scouted the location and was amazed by the culture and family-like bond the skaters had amongst themselves." When Q'ayyim was explaining the back story, I smiled involuntarily, feeling glad that the sense of connection and friendship was indeed natural and wasn't staged like I thought.
"The sight of seeing the skaters bonding over a blunt, music, fashion, and the attempts of outdoing one another when they performed tricks made me know I was in the right place."
The shots seem to capture the essence of youth perfectly. Personally, seeing the representations of young people on TV shows, I often feel insulted with the lack of diversity, honesty, and problems related to being young. Being able to observe different people with different tastes who bond over certain things seems to be the best way to understand a culture. Another great way is to ask them questions directly.
I interviewed some of the models -Coconut, Mercury, Jermani- in the photographs to have a deeper understanding of how they perceive the relations between style and skating.
Do you think that skating has influenced your style? If so, how?
Coconut: Skating has influenced my style tremendously. I like to dress comfortable when I skate but still stylish. That usually means baggy bottoms and a crop top.
Jermani: Style kinda came when skating became more popular on Instagram because everybody wanted to show their best fits, and have the most steez skating and wanting to stand out.
Mercury: I definitely feel like skating influenced my style, I dress completely different when I skate and when I do other daily activities. When I skate i wear some huge ass jeans and a hoodie or a graphic t-shirt. It's very relaxed but I still try to swag it out with accessories and just having unique pieces.
Who are your style icons?
Coconut: Honestly I'm not sure if I have any style icons. I guess when you emerge yourself in a culture you start to become a reflection of it. At the end of the day I just wear what makes me feel good.
Jermani: I don't have any icons. I kinda dress according to how I feel but I'd say I get style inspiration from music, like some old underground NY rap.
Mercury: My style icons are honestly just people on the streets or on the internet. I get a lot of inspiration from just seeing how other people dress and also just how they rock what they wear. I guess one could be Rico Nastybecause she wears what the fuck she wants and rocks it. She got her own style and she be rocking it.
What are your most worn-pieced in your wardrobe?
Coconut: Cargo pants, my lucky jeans, and my Nike blazers.
Jermani: I don't have a "most worn" piece. I try to make sure I wear everything at least once before I repeat a fit.
Mercury: My most worn items on my closet would have to be the bagy black jeans I got from the thrift store. I cut some holes in the knees and it just gives me this baggy boyfriend look. They are comfortable because they aren't too tight and I can pair them with almost anything.
How does a regular skating day look like for you?
Coconut: A regular skating day for me is me heading to my local park (fourthward) skating for awhile, then linking with the homies and eventually skating another spot, joking, smoking, and pushing myself to landing new things I've been working on.
Jermani: A regular skating day for me would be waking up around 12, eating some breakfast, watching some skating or surfing before I go skate with my girl, then usually going to raves at night after sesh.
Mercury: A regular skate day (pre-quarantine) just basically starts with me gettinf off work around 3. I work at my mom's hair salon right up the street from the skate park. I text my friends to figure out where we're skating at and then we all link up and hit couple spots. We don't skate the whole time, we smoke and chill and talk. Afterwards we we would usually go to "Lil 5 pizza" back to my dorm to smoke and watch some stuff and just hang out.
How could you describe the skating culture to someone who doesn't know anything about it?
Coconut: Skate culture is all about being yourself, no matter what type of style you have, what you wear, or what you like. As long as you shred and just try your best everyone will fuck with you it's very simple.I never met such helpful and understanding people until I started skating.
Jermani: The skate culture is the best lifestyle you could live. Skating teaches you a lot about life and helps you to understand yourself more as a person/skater.
Mercury: I would describe skating culture as a very unique community. It brings together a lot of different people who are easy to bond with since they are very welcoming supportive. They will push you to do things you probably are scared to do and just encourage you to get better. It's a big ass family. Some people are dicks though but that comes with every form of community it's mostly good vibes. Everyone is also very creative. I noticed a lot of skaters do art, graffiti and music.
If you want to follow the skateboarder's Instagram and have a daily dose of style inspiration:
Click on the skateboarder's names to go to their Instagram: Jermani, Coconut and Mercury
If you want to go to Q'ayyim's Instagram click here. For Josiah's, click here