Emma Shoesmith / Anastasia & Gina

These images where shot at a monthly all-girl skate nigh in London.
Photos where both the active athlete and the more passive onlookers are women, are very rarely seen- we are usually treated to images of active men, doing rad tricks, while passive girls stand quietly in the background. Here both women are clearly taking part.


Emma Shoesmith, UK,

www.emmajshoesmith.com

Emma is a Creator, Inventor, inspired artist & action sports enthusiast. She is passionate about the outdoors, and how to achieve the perfect work/life balance, a project that is forever in effect. Emma loves to collaborate with other practitioners and strongly believes that diversity and gender
equality are the keys to breakthrough for both businesses and initiatives. After completing a degree in Media at the University of Westminster Emma is
completely hooked by image making, whether it be moving or stills, Emma just love to tell stories. And she is fantastic at it! Currently engaged in the
project Board of Media, a social movement celebrating gender equality in action sports, Emma is building a community of likeminded brands
and bodies. Board Of Media offers a new way to combat the objectification and sexualization of both men and women in action sports media, and the team just
closed a successful crowdfunding campaign to fund their upcoming documentary on the topic.

Moving or still images, my dream is to capture the essence of freedom and bottle it up with other beautiful things, keeping and collecting transient
moments that I wish could last forever. My goal in life is to share these ephemeral moments with everyone everywhere; I learn from the people I meet
and am inspired by the people I know. My drive to create art is heavily rooted in my search to discover more about myself and the world we live in.”
 
When and why did you get in to photography?
“Photography is an important part of my creative practice; it is a visual language that never lets me down. Moments in time that I am lucky enough to
share with some of my subjects become more precious to me over time. I love to shoot on film, just the whole process is still seems like magic to me!”
 
What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I saw my mother and father on windsurfers, bikes, boards and skis when I was young. It felt like it was a very normal thing for me to do. My biggest
love is snowboarding; a face full of powder and the perfect tree line is my idea of heaven.”
 
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“Best moment: Dropping in to my first big green wave, riding it all the way to the end and smiling all the way! Worst Moment: Being called out in the
surf, told to leave a break because apparently I wasn’t “good enough”
 
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
“The History of Women’s Surfing project is so important to document as women are more often than not left out of surf cultures grand narrative.”
 
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“The media presents the picture that Men do strength, Women do weakness. However, it is changing! There are a few initiatives that are representing men
and women as equals. I would like to see more diversity in the female role models that we are presented with! That’s why the BodiesOfAction campaign is
such a great idea!”
 
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“Support, support and more support. Girls need to know from an early age that they do not need to wear make up, high heels or have false nails to be somebody or to have value. We need to have a whole curriculum dedicated to teaching young girls and boys to be themselves. The sexualisation and objectification of men in the media is just as bad and harmful as it is for the girls. We are creating a world of men and women with low self-esteem and body dysmorphia! Education is the key.”

 

What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“A cleaner, greener action sports industry void of sexism and gender inequality.”

 

What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“People have asked me why we need projects like Board of Media and assume we don’t. I show them my academic research, and that usually
aids in informing them why this is a subject that needs to be addressed!

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are
connected?
“As a young girl I worried that my whole body, every single part of it, at some time or another was a little bit, or a lot, wrong. I have fortunately
seen the light. Age and Education really is on a girls side when it comes to body image. We are what we are, we are all different, and wouldn’t life be
boring if we were all the same?”
 
Do you think there’s a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“Men: Jocks, muscles, sexualised and performing their sport. Women: Passive, naive, sexualised, usually looking directly at the camera more often than
not holding there ride. This is a generalization of course, not all action sports brands are doing this.”
 
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“You might not fit in to the current stereotype but who wants to do that, anyway? Action sports is about counter culture, creativity and solidarity and
unfortunately that is not what it has become. New breeds of athlete’s, aficionados and brands are paving the way, leaving out outdated ideologies
behind. It is all about the environment, people included, as long as we protect, nurture and respect one another values we will have a truly amazing
future, which may one day be used as a model for global social change.”
 

Anastasia Kuzina, UK

instagram.com/naskuzina

Born in Russia, but live in the UK. Favorite place is wherever her closest friends are.
23 // Muscovite Londoner. Designer. Maker. Hopeless romantic. Militant atheist. Long/snow/skate/boarder. Nerd.
 
What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
"I’m pretty sure that one of my best buddies in school got me into skateboarding when I was about 12. I don’t remember specifically how he did it, but I do remember nagging my parents to get me a skateboard so that we can practice together. After that there was a long period of failed ollies and going to the skatepark every weekend to learn how to drop in, with (what I thought at the time) the tallest person on the planet as a coach. We were both tiny dwarfs compared to him. And since then I’ve been skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, wind surfing and wakeboarding. Lately, I’ve been learning how to dance on a longboard, it’s my current obsession."
 
What adventure is next on your bucketlist?
"Going to the “So…you can longboard dance?”- Competition in Eindhoven.”
 
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
"The worst, the best and the most intense moment for me was the day when me and a bunch of my friends decided to tackle La Grave, an off-piste mecca in the French Alps. It was the first time I had to carry all of the emergency equipment with me when snowboarding – the telescoping sticks, avalanche transceivers, shovels, we had to put on climbing harnesses in case we fall into a crack or a canyon (which made me less and less certain that we should be doing this at all, especially in a place that has such a cheerful name) and all the extra stuff that will hopefully save your life- but the fact that you’re preparing for something like that is both exciting and absolutely freaking terrifying.
What made it the worst day simultaneously was the fact that in order to get to La Grave we had to take two cabins, a cool funiculaire, a bunch of butt lifts (T-bars) and then get into a snowmobile which would take us all the way to the top? Which is not a big deal in itself, unless the butt lifts are at the 3,4k elevation and are not working.
We had no choice but to walk up the piste with all our gear and boards and it really was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. After about 150m my body and lungs were on fire and we haven't even snowboarded yet. One of my buddies got a frostnip while we did that trek, which thankfully we noticed early enough. But when we got there though, it was all worth it. Epic scenery, fresh deep pow in all directions and just loads of fun! There were vast open spaces, narrow lines, jumps and bumps, a forest and it was definitely the best day after all!"
 
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
"Elissa Steamer, Lizzie Armanto, Alana Smith, Amanda Powell, Lacey Baker, LGC, Board of Media, Boardettes just to name a few. "
 
Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
"I guess I don’t have a single biggest inspiration in life, different people, places, things inspire me in various ways and touch various aspects of my life. One of the most significant ones recently has been James Victore, he really inspires me professionally in my design work."
 
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
"I do think it’s important to have somebody to look up to, especially when you’re growing up. From experience, I would have loved to have known girls that can skate. I think I knew only one in Moscow and at the time had no access to internet, so couldn’t really have found anyone else through that. I wasn’t even sure that girls skated at all. Nowadays, it’s so much easier and I do believe it makes a difference. I was lucky to have a group of guy friends that didn’t care if I was a girl or a boy and I never felt any less than them growing up and skating together. Those boys were my role models, which was just fine with me, but as I said it would have been really cool to know of some girls that rip as well."
 
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
"I think it is always a personal choice, nobody “got” me to stay in skateboarding when I was growing up, I did it because I enjoyed it and it was fun. What I think is important in these types of sports though, is a community, a group that kids, teens, adults can feel welcome in. It is good to practice by yourself too, but it’s also more fun when your friends are there to see how high you just landed that kickflip you were working on for ages. That’s what pushed me forward at least, the constant pursuit of bigger, better, harder, cleaner tricks; and the stoke of seeing my buddies achieve something, whether it is a first ollie or a 540 boneless over a funbox, made me try harder in return."
 
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
"I just want to see people push the boundaries in sports further and further, it’s fascinating to me and I can’t wait to hear about the newest achievements in action sports, from both guys and girls. It’s always fun to see somebody do something nobody’s ever done before."
 
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
"Nobody thinks they will fit in at the start! It’s natural to feel awkward and foolish when you’re trying something for the first time, especially if you’re surrounded with people who are really good. But just remember that everybody started somewhere, whatever the sport you want to take up, and it takes time and dedication to get better. Go for it and don’t give up! Talk to everybody (to talk is to love) and be the party! Get your friends to try it with you, find somebody who can give you some guidance and have fun!"

Gina Burns, UK

boardettes.com

21 corporate business women by day – action sports enthusiast by night (and on weekends of course.)
"Always wanting to go on adventures, I actually got bored skydiving… Skied since I was 7, joined a local kayak club in my teens, I skateboard, surf and went to Bali last year too, which was the biggest surf if ever got stuck into, yogi, exploring -You name it: I’ve probably tried it!"
 
What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
"I broke my elbow at MileEnd skatepark in London last year, but went a few days before realizing I'd better go get it checked out! That was most gutting as it was just before I had a trip planned to Amsterdam ? so no bicycle for me"
 
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
"Bethany Hamilton is a fantastic role model; she is one of the few that hasn’t succumbed to taking sexy photos. Brand there’s too many – my skateboard is from Note Deck, because I think it’s great to support local shops. I discovered some awesome brands at boardmasters last year too;  Brah boys and Bro!Clothing."
 
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
"It seems the only way for women to "get far" in “sports” and get sponsorships, is to take semi naked photos. It’s a real shame – girls should be appreciated for their talent, not their looks!"
 
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
"An example is Boardettes, which was started by my good friend Theresa. We hold sessions to teach girls how to skate and create a community to bring fellow action sports enthusiasts together. By going into schools and encouraging girls to get involved, we would have a great start – being a role model to the kids as a female myself."
 
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
"I hope that more women take part and that there is more equality for things like the prize money in comps."
 
What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
"I have long blonde dreadlocks and I often bring my skateboard into work, which happens to be the most corporate environment ever! People can give me funny looks and be quick to judge, but once I open my mouth and they hear what I have to say they realize I mean business and can really bring something to the table. Action sports give me confidence, leadership skills, relationship building skills and problem solving, to mention a few things.”

 

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
“Definitely- I think all women do! Lots of photos of sports women these days are in skimpiest bikinis and it puts pressure on other sports women’ to do the same to be part of the crowd… It’s a big cycle …"
 
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
"Men are portrayed as clever and powerful and cool, and women are portrayed as sexy and cute and pink… If I see another pink wetsuit made just because that "makes it" a women’s, I will cry…"
 
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
"You couldn’t be more wrong- every single person I have met at the skate park, on the piste or at the beach has been so encouraging! And I have made lifelong friends.  Just do it!"