13 Dec Barker Brothers Photography
BMX brothers are nothing new. Lots of brothers grow up riding together. Brothers that have a passion for both BMX and photography however is rare. Scott (left) and Trent (right) Barker both come from Southern Ontario, ride bikes, and shoot photos constantly. I asked them both a few questions about themselves, their work, and their favourite photos. Click below to see more.
Scott Geoffrey Barker
Toronto is where I was born but I grew up in Owen Sound, a town of 21,000 that’s about two hours north of Toronto. There are lots of hockey players, farmers, and kids riding their snowmobiles to school. Luckily I met some awesome friends who were really into the movie RAD! and punk music though and things were all up hill from there.
I just moved to London, England about two months ago for work. It’s an awesome city so far and I think I’ll be staying for a while. There’s just so much going on. The riding scene is awesome, the nightlife is great, and they sell beer in the corner stores. Pretty much all you need.
It’s been awhile, about 10 years I think. I was lucky enough for my high school to have a few photography courses and a pretty well maintained dark room. I signed up thinking I’d be able to just hangout outside with my friends and get an easy credit but it turned out to be actually pretty fun. The photos from those first few years are just beyond atrocious though.
I was really fortunate to get some great deals on the cameras I have, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford them.
The oldest of the three that I have would be a Leica M6 with a 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8. It’s such a great lens that’s super compact too. I just wish that it were a bit faster.
I also have a Hasselblad 500 C/M with a 80mm CF T*.
Both of these cameras were made the same year that I was born and still work perfectly. I can’t imagine myself using anything else at this point so my fingers are crossed for a film revival.
The last camera I use is some Fuji point and shoot thing that I traded a roll of film to Trent for. It’s really shitty, really awesome, and the perfect camera to use after having a couple drinks.
Boogie – He’s the best and every time I see his photos I want to go shoot.
Robert Frank – I recently saw a small exhibition of his and was blown away by the massive number of photos he took.
Trent – his photos make me want to go and take some myself.
Roy – I found him on flickr, his photos are incredible.
On the BMX side of things it’s obviously Jeff Z. No doubt.
And Mark Losey. I did an “interview” with him while he was the editor at Ride for a project in my photo class in grade 10. I emailed him some questions and he was super cool about it and sent back some answers really quick. I wish I kept that.
It’s mostly just whatever’s around me that makes me want to take photos though. If I could go on a lifelong road trip with BMXFU I would have a nonstop supply of great times with great friends and endless amounts motivation to shoot roll after roll.
I guess looking back at what I’ve written, a better title for this section might be motivation.
This was taken in Halong Bay in Vietnam. There were two families who live on a raft/houseboat in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. They rented out canoes and kayaks as well as selling snack foods to make a living. On either side of the walkway there are nets where they kept fish that they had caught. It looks cold but it was perfect swimming weather.
The shed roof that Brad Hill is trying to whip over was only a spot for less than a week between getting torn down and taken away to the dump. It just wasn’t meant to be. There were nails and glass everywhere and the only time we rode it was after dark on a super foggy night. To be able to see there were car headlights on the spot and Chris Henry was holding a flashlight so that Bobby could see where the edge of the roof was so that he wouldn’t fall off. Eventually the cops showed up because people had called in about all the flashing lights (my flashes) and came to see what was going on. I think Bobby basically put his foot through a window that was lying on the ground and called it quits at that point. It was actually a pretty fun time regardless and makes me wonder about all the photos that never see the light of day because the trick was never landed.
I came across this scene while walking around downtown Seoul. Here, a bunch of old friends are sitting around an open fire in an alley playing some sort of card game and having a few drinks. It’s moments like this that make me want to move back there sometimes.
Right before I left Seoul I tried to take photos of as many people as I could in the neighbourhood that I lived in. This guy was always sitting outside of small shop that I passed by on my way to and from the subway station. He and his friends would often say something to me in Korean and then just start to laugh. I still have no idea if they were trying to be nice or were just making fun of me.
I took this photo when I was walking across the road while in Mexico City. I was really excited when I saw the result. It’s not the most interesting photo but I really love it for some reason. After I got home I was trying to catch up on all my bookmarks and came across something sort of neat on Boogie’s site. While I was in Mexico he had posted on his site a photo from Mexico City of a very similar scene.
Trent found this house somehow while driving in the countryside around Owen Sound. Based on the things that we found in the house we think it must have been abandoned at least 30-40 years ago. There were the old stubby type of beer bottles everywhere and newspapers from the sixties strewn about. The upstairs was pretty scary because the roof and the floor both had holes in them. We definitely walked lightly up there. But nothing compared to the basement. We didn’t go down because we came to the very rational conclusion that the only thing we could possibly find down there were dead bodies.
This kid lives in Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) in Vietnam. While wandering the streets looking for the hostel he came up to me, had no shirt of shoes on, somehow knew which one of the dozen hostels on the street I was looking for and then motioned for me to follow him down some tiny alleys and passage ways where we eventually ended up at the front door of the hostel where he quickly took off running but not before asking for a dollar and telling me to take his picture.
This rail is in Montebello Park in St. Catharines. I have no idea how many photos I’ve taken of this thing. It’s one of my favourite spots. It’s the perfect place to meet up, hangout, or end a session at. The list of things that have gone down on this rail would be so long.
I have a love/hate relationship with public transit. It can also be one of the worst places in the world. It’s always sweltering hot no matter what the weather outside is like outside and you’re chances of sitting beside a stinky, overweight person are disproportionately higher than compared to anywhere else in the world. But it’s also great for the environment and the second best way to get around the city. It can also provide great moments like this too that make the trip a bit more bearable.
Trent Gordon Barker
I was born in Mississauga but at the age of four we moved to Owen Sound where I lived until I finished high school. It’s a pretty small farming hub town that doesn’t really have a lot of exciting things going on. Of the friends I met in highschool most of them skateboarded so we’d go to the Owen Sound Ghettoway Sk8park after school and drink 99-cent cartons of chocolate milk until we felt like dying.
I moved to Ottawa to go to University right after high school and have been there for about 5 years now. It’s a great city to live in for about 8-9 months of the year until the winter rolls around and it gets unbelievably cold. It’s a strange city for shooting street photos because although there is a decent sized population most of it isn’t based around the city core so the amount of foot traffic is pretty low.
I took a photography class in high school and it was great but I pretty much forgot about it afterwards. It wasn’t until Scott moved to St. Catharines and started shooting photos of all the BMXFU guys that I started to get interested in it again. A few years ago (2007) when he was living in South Korea he mailed me a Yashica Electro 35 GSN for Christmas and I’ve been shooting ever since.
I have gone through so many different cameras on my search to find what I really liked. The aforementioned GSN (I still have, but it’s broken), Olympus XA, Holga 120N, Fujifilm Clearshot 60, Nikon D70s, Yashica Mat-124 (now twice broken), Canon Canonet QL17 III, Bronica SQ-A, Nikon FE2, and a Leica M6 (stolen).
After all that, I finally found two cameras that I absolutely love. The first is a Konica AA-35; it’s a half-frame camera that rolls vertically so the photos still come out in a landscape format, which is really uncommon. It’s really great to have a pretty small camera that can shoot 72 photos on a roll, has a flash, auto-focus, and auto advance and rewind for spontaneous shots and when a big camera is too intrusive.
But the one I shoot with the most is a Voigtlander Bessa R3A with a 50mm Nokton f1.5. The rangefinder is bright, the controls are simple and not chunky, and the lens is fast and focuses with just the right amount of resistance; perfect.
Scott, obviously. Although it seems more and more he is keeping photos to himself, whether it’s to use them for the FUzines or other things, he has become frustratingly secretive…or maybe just lazy, ha.
Have to mention Boogie cause he’s the best.
I like a lot of the guys associated with Magnum: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and Martin Parr are some of the big ones but I’m also pretty into Bruce Gilden’s stuff. He has a pretty unique style and does a really great job of capturing really personal moments on the streets of NYC. He’s one of the few street photographers that use flash and the results are amazing. There’s a really great interview with him that’s worth watching here.
There are a large number of other photographers whose work I’ve seen through messageboards and flickr who are young and incredibly talented. John Battaglia, Robert Kaczynski, and Karolis Milasevicius are a few names that stick out.
I get a lot of inspiration for photography from TV shows and movies as well. Breaking Bad is especially great and some of the shots from the middle of the desert are absolutely amazing. Some of the movies that make me really want to shoot are City of God, Boogie Nights, Léon, Brokeback Mountain, and Brick.
In all honesty, I’d probably say pizza is my biggest influence. Usually I’ll go out shooting and I’ll need a break from walking, or to warm up a bit, and slice of pizza is perfect for both.
See more of Trent’s work here:
Usually when I decide to go home to Owen Sound or to visit Scott in St. Catharines while he still lived there I’d get the bus into Toronto and then get a ride from there the rest of the way. Sometimes bus schedules and real life schedules don’t match up very well so in this case I was in Toronto from 4-8am waiting for Scott to pick me up. Although I wouldn’t hope for that to happen again, it was pretty interesting to watch as the city woke up and the empty streets slowly filled with cars and people.
I shot this on the subway from Manhattan to Coney Island when I was in New York for a few days. I only saw this guy from the back so I’m still unsure if he was one of those guitar-playing buskers that entertain in the subway cars or a real-life cowboy.
I saw this scene about a week before I shot this as I was getting a ride past the theatre. It was one of those moments of complete frustration realizing I didn’t have a camera with me. Luckily, the next time I saw the sign being changed I was able to jump out of the car and shoot this before they were done changing it.
At the north end of Bank Street in Ottawa there is an abortion clinic that constantly has protesters outside of it. This guy kept pacing back and forth with the rosary dangling from his hand and I got as close as I could without getting noticed to take this photo. It’s pretty important to me that I shoot the subjects in a moment where they don’t recognize that a photo is being taken or at least the moment before they adjust to the reality that they are being photographed.
I took this photo at a party (referred to as The Catalina Swine Mixer) that two of my friends had to raise money for their move from Owen Sound to Halifax. There were impromptu concerts, bonfires, a pig-roast, and lots and lots of beer. In the photo is Michael and his Fender Telecaster Jimmy the Saint, one of the guitars we used when about ten of us played a very drunken few songs late into the night. It was a great time and I can’t wait to see those guys again soon.
Another one from New York: Jordanna and I were looking for a bar we’d heard of that had $1 cans of beer but the address we had written down turned out to be a dilapidated laundromat. The whole neighborhood was pretty beat and I noticed this lady with her face pressed against the wall just staring through the crack between it and the fence. It wasn’t any better on the other side.
The sun has started setting before I finish work now so shooting on my way home has changed fairly drastically. I saw this guy leaning on the garage door staring out and I couldn’t help but relate to that feeling you get during the last hour of your shift when work is the last place you want to be.
This is Jory Lyons. His bike is a mishmash of parts given to him by mostly by my brother, me and our friend AJ. The bike probably has parts that were made 10 years apart. His sprocket is attached to his crank arm by means of electrical tape and a metal clothes hanger. And yet he still has a ton of fun and slides handrails with ease.
At the end of the summer in 2009 I had a few weeks between the extra summer courses I was taking and the start of the fall semester so I decided to try and see as many friends as I could. But before that I headed to St. Catharines to meet up with Scott to go camping in Pennsylvania for a week. The start of trip included a quick stop at the Niagara Gorge where I shot this. I keep all my negatives just for photos like this one. When I got it back I dismissed it because the subject was soft and forgot about it. About nine months later I was going through a binder and pulled it out and couldn’t believe I had passed over it. Although this doesn’t happen often, when it does it certainly makes it worth it to keep every single negative.