Art Interview Interview

Twenty-three-year-old photographer Lewis Robinson has been skating since the age of fourteen. But after discovering most of his mates held greater skills in the skate park than him, he picked up a camera – and the rest is history. 

Since then he pursued a visual narration of the life and skate scene that encircles him and his friends. His style, unconstrained and in possession of a spontaneous quality that makes for intimate depictions of his daily surroundings, has illustrated the perfect storyline for his succession of DIY zines. Entitled Its Not America, Whatcha Mean, Whats A Zine and the latest, Pushing Through, the three instalments trace skate trips from Barcelona to Ibiza, through to back home in Kettering, UK, capturing the tricks, friendships and mischief made by Robinson and co while chasing concrete. 

Zoe Springer: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Lewis Robinson: I’m 23-years-old, I love taking photos, skating and cruising round on my bike. I’m from a quiet little town called Kettering, where not much goes on. 

ZS: What are you and your friends’ favourite areas to hang out and skate in? What makes them special?
LR: Me and my mates used to skate the market square in Kettering all the time, was a pretty cool spot to hang out, but they fine you for skating there now, so other than the odd trip out to Milton Keynes, Coventry, Nottingham we just stick to the skate park.  

ZS: How long have you been involved in the skate scene?
LR: I’ve been skating since I was about fourteen I think. When my friend Louis’s dad brought me a skateboard from America and we used to go skate every weekend. 

Photography by Lewis Robinson
Photography by Lewis Robinson

ZS: And what inspired you to create your zines?
LR: It all start because I didn’t want to waste my photos by just putting them on Facebook. I started the Pushing Through one first and was shooting bits of film while I was out too, and thought it made sense for me to do three separate zines, one that was colour film and one in black and white film.

ZS: How would you describe your own work?
LR: I would describe my work as documenting myself and my friends having fun, on our travels, in the UK and places like Barcelona and Ibiza. More recently I’ve been trying to take advantage of the natural light in my photos that might form different shapes on the subjects face. I chose the zine format as the photos then tell a story and aren’t just separate pieces. 

Photography by Lewis Robinson
Photography by Lewis Robinson

ZS: What originally attracted you to skateboarding?
LR: I really like how varied it is and there’s no rules to it. You don’t have to join a team or sign up to anything. 

ZS: What sparked you starting to take photos?
LR: I started taking photos of my mates because they were all better than me at skating, and so it was just a natural thing for me to film or take photos of them. I got a lot more into photography when I was about eighteen and studied it at school, and looked a lot at photographers like Yoon Sul and Ed Templeton. 

Photography by Lewis Robinson

ZS: What would you say have been the most influential factors that have motivated your images and zines?
LR: I think the most influential thing for me to take photos and zines, is so that other people see my work and feel how I felt when I took it. Also as a memory capsule for me. Another motivation for me was the skate shop (chopper) in Kettering, that recently just shut down. Mark and Amanda [from the shop] have inspired a lot of us.  

ZS: What kind of projects do you have planned?
LR: Over the summer I’ve been working on two fashion projects which should be coming out in the next few weeks. They’re a little different to what I normally shoot but I like that, and wanted to try something different. Hopefully going to start another film project soon, as I love shooting with it.

See more of Lewis Robinson’s zines here. See more of his photography at his website

Follow Zoe Springer on Instagram @zoemariespringer