INTERVIEW / George Booth Cole / GALLERY

To start things off with a pun only the most experienced with Japanese skate videos of you will get, George Booth is tight! Now past the cringeworthy introduction point, let's still dwell over how justified the prior remark is. For the past few years, Gee Bee Cee has been very involved teaming up with George Toland and the Serious Adult crew (the one that recently brought you the full-length video "Teddie"); all of them are fueling their scene, having a hand saving the classic London spot Southbank, and documenting the current generation of London rippers - one they are part of. Booth's language of choice happens to be the one of photography and for a while now, he's been sharing his works and displaying his zines quite visibly on Instagram, a curated yet abundant selection of quite unique fragments of time frozen on black and white film, then self-developed. Last September, the whole crew went (again!) to attend the Vladimir Film Festival in Croatia for a few days; to tease the resulting edit by George Toland, coming out on LIVE real soon, here's a gallery of George Booth Cole's works, images from the latest Vladimir but also from the making of "Teddie" and some from a project in Japan. And the lad looked like he had things to say aplenty, so we caught up with him for a few!
LIVE Skateboard Media: To our readers who might be new to the name, how could you describe the Vladimir Film Festival and its concept in words? How was your experience there, who did you tag along with and how did you enjoy your stay?
George Booth Cole: For me, the Vladimir Film Festival is an annual meeting point for underground skateboarding from around the world, ran and organized by Nikola and the squad from the Croatian sea port town of Fazana.
I came with my London crew: the Serious Adults, but pretty much straight away it was clear it didn't really matter who you came with, more the fact that you were here with everyone else who was attending the festival.
LSM: You were a great addition to the London Crew of Lads as you were spontaneously shooting photos literally on the spot, skate photos or street photos in general all the while Toland was doing the same in video form via his VX. What is your background as a photographer like? I know you’ve been making zines. Was it skateboarding that introduced you to photography or was it something that always spoke to you?
GBC: Aye cheers, it was great to finally check the festival after hearing about how fun it was from the crew that went the year before.
Err, I started shooting photos really as we started to go out and street skate in the city as gromits in London. George Toland actually used to shoot rad skate photos of the crew and this was about the same time as Grey Skate Mag started, which got me stoked on shooting in black and white on film. I'd sort of been interested in photographs before this, but I think this was the point I bought a cheap 35 mm SLR and took it out consistently when we went street skating to document whatever, whether it be the crew or other random shit you see.
Then I've just kept shooting, started making zines after a couple years from trips we'd go on. In the last couple years, my interests have started to move towards more social documentary works outside of skating, but skateboarding will always be important, so I still want to document what we do as a crew.
LSM: Do you only shoot film? Do you develop your own film? What type of set-up do you like to use, do you tend to favor a minimalistic approach i.e. natural light instead of flashes, etc.?
GBC: Yeah right now I only shoot film, predominantly black and white.
I develop all black and white film myself, saves a lot of money and you don't have to wait on the lab.
I don't have a specific approach when it comes to shooting photos. I always carry a rangefinder camera for shooting on the spot shit but whether or not I use flashes varies depending on the practicality of the situation.
Just as we started filming for the Serious Adult crew video "Teddie", I bought a cheap Russian fish-eye for a 35 mm SLR and some flashes. So it's only relatively recently that I've started shooting more 'coordinated' skate photos, which has been pretty interesting. The idea of spending a fair amount of time setting the frame and flashes takes a while to get used to, definitely blown a lot of shots, sorry boys! 
LSM: Who would you say your main photographers of reference are? Be them skate photographers or not.

GBC: Since I can really remember, Robert Frank has been and still is my main inspiration in photography, along with the likes of Shomei Tomatsu, Ari Marcopoulos, Benjamin Deberdt and my good mate Masa Yoshimoto too, both for their skate photos and more documentary work.
LSM: How many rolls did you shoot in Croatia? How much film do you tend to use in general; if you shoot a lot, isn’t the habit sometimes a bit hard to afford?
GBC: I think at the festival I only shot four rolls.
How many rolls I go through a month, or whatever, varies a lot. If I'm on a trip, probably could be two or three a day. But back in London, could be a couple on the weekend if we're skating or if I'm out shooting something.
Right now, I've been working a full-time landscape construction job and I'm part of a community dark room in South London where for a pretty cheap monthly membership, I can develop all the film I need. I also got a mate in a photo supply shop who is able to give me good prices on film, so in the end I can make it work pretty well. Just takes a lot more time than handing the film to the lab and getting scans back the new week or so.
LSM: Do you have any photo exhibition of publication project in the works right now? What do you have in mind for whatever’s next, what’s next up in line for George the Tight Booth?
GBC: I got some prints up at 'Process Supplies' in London right now, from a long-term project documenting some riverside communities in Osaka City, Japan from 2017. Since September I've started working on this project with a farming family in a rural village in Hungary, not too sure when this is gonna be finished. I got a lot of street and diary photos from the past year, so next year I want to put something together, me and the G Thomas Dettori from Marseille have been talking about doing a exhibition at some point which should be sick.
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