Ollie Dutton and Will Smith are two of the best freestylers of their generation, with their photos, Insta clips and video edits popping up all over on a nearly weekly basis. Both riders are accomplished photographers, too but when they shoot photos, their preferred medium is film. We picked a few of their shots and asked them to discuss their work.
What made you start shooting photographs?
Will: When I was about 14, I got a Nikon D50 from my dad for my birthday and just always took photographs from then. I guess I just enjoy creative things.
Ollie: I grew up skating, and I liked to film and take pics. I studied art at school so I learnt some of the basics in photography class. Apart from that I just find it fun!
Why did you start shooting film?
Will: I bought an Olympus OM10 from eBay for £15 and that’s what I am still shooting on, but Ollie has some really nice cameras and I have a play on those. I would like to invest in some nice lenses too. I guess film cameras just feel nicer to shoot with – I like the noise of the shutter and the way that you can’t check what you’ve shot, so it makes you think about your photographs more. It means you get better photos and sometimes some nice, happy accidents
Ollie: I got to play around with the 35mm Smith had in Minnesota and I liked how it felt, the manual focus and all the basic features. Film cameras are so easy and cheap to pick up, so I just got one off eBay. I have a few film cameras now, including a Nikon FM10, which is my favourite. Shooting black and white film is more fun than editing digital photos, I was so over the last eight years of my life being on Facebook. I wanted to have something to feel and put in albums, something to look back on. I was travelling to some unreal places with some of my best mates, and I wanted to document it!
What are the positives of film over digital?
Will: With digital photographs, you shoot a million in a day and then they go on a hard drive somewhere and you never end up seeing them again. When you shoot film, each photograph has more to it and I remember everything about what happened that day or at that spot. I just really like the process and that you end up with a solid print that you have forever.
Ollie: I think film photos have a certain charm to them. I remember being a kid and being so stoked to go food shopping with my mum because we would develop her photos. I like going through photos weeks after you’ve shot them and you’re buzzing! Even the out of focus photos can still be dope. My photos are just for fun and I like capturing my trips, so I don’t need them to be instant like using digital. Double exposure shots on the Nikon are fun, too. It’s a hard feature to figure out, but some photos have come out nice so I’m stoked!
Is there ever any conflict between you as a photographer and the filmer?
Will: I don’t like staging photos. I like shooting with the filmer in my shot, because I am just documenting what happens. I just try to shoot what is going on at that moment. As arty as it sounds the best photos are when you catch a moment in time and you can see that in the image.
Ollie: Nah it’s always mellow, I make sure I’m out the shot because I don’t want to ruin the footy. I’m not trying to sell my photos, so it’s not a big deal.
Have you ever thought of shooting photos for a living?
Will: I have done a couple of jobs taking photos for people and it’s nice to get some money for something you enjoy, but I don’t think I would want to take a career in photography.
If somebody wants me to shoot photos or like if you guys are down to run my photographs I’m super happy, but I like that it is just for myself and I take them because I love it.
Ollie: I’m definitely not knowledgeable enough to make a living out of it! I get to snowboard with some unreal riders, so taking photos is a lot easier when your mates are jumping down stupid shit. I enjoy taking photos for sure, I do it as part of my job, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can!
What did you get up to last season?
Will: I went to Finland with Vans just before Christmas, but it was pretty much dark 24/7 so I couldn’t shoot any photos. Then I separated my shoulder on the 6th January on my first trip of 2016, so I was out for eight weeks then I did a trip to Hof to get my legs back for two weeks. I went straight from there to Finland for seven days and messed up my knee, then Laax to ride pow but the snow disappeared when we arrived and Tim lost his car keys the day before I got there, so we go stuck in there for five days. Not a bad place to be stuck and injured when it’s sunny though! Then I went to Quebec and Montreal for three weeks. I didn’t actually snowboard very much this year with injuries, but it was a fun year!
Ollie: Unfortunately, I got hurt pretty early so I only filmed for about three weeks with Postland, which sucked as I wasn’t able to film with Grindhouse and I missed out on some mad trips like Quebec! I really wanted to take a lot of photos this year, so it was a shame I missed out on the season!
What are your plans for this season?
Will: I am going to be filming with Tim at Postland again, which should be good, every year the crew gets better and better and everyone is on the same wave length too so it makes every trip so fun! Hopefully I’ll be on some trips for the Vans movie, so that should be really sick.
Ollie: Just keep my shoulders strong and try and get some shots with Postland.
What one thing would make shooting photos easier for you?
Will: Knowing more about cameras as I end up learning things by playing around. When I’m shooting digital, I would really like to know how to edit photos better – I am trying though.
Ollie: Knowing how to use all my camera settings to make my photos as good as they can be. I’m pretty rookie, I just point and shoot!