Mikaël (or Mike) Cardin (pictured above) has only been shooting photos for a couple of years, but in that time has managed to develop a refreshingly unique style and approach to BMX photography. Every time I’d see a new photo of his pop up, I would be impressed with the simple composition and use of natural light. I’m not the only one, as he’s even had his work incorporated in recent ads (seen here). This photographer profile is not meant to stir up the endless debate of film versus digital, but rather shine a light on a strong new talent. Click below to read some answers from Mike Cardin and check out a great selection of his recent photos.
I was born and grew up in Drummondville, Quebec. A small town of 65,000 that’s about an hour from Montreal and an hour and a half from Quebec City. It’s basically in the middle of everything, most major towns and cities are all more or less an hour drive away. So it was easy for me to drive anywhere to go ride and hang out with my friends from out of town. Everybody speaks French and it’s home of Poutine since 1964.
I made the move to Montreal last summer after coming down almost every weekend for the past five years since most of my friends live here. I was one of the few still riding back home and the spots weren’t any good. Montreal has a strong scene of riders, amazing spots, the best music scene in Canada, crazy nightlife and the finest women in North America. So it only made sense to make the move here.
It’s been a little over two years. I bought my first camera not knowing anything about photography. It’s something I wanted to try for a really long time but never did for some reason. I remember saying I would never shoot riding, just because there are so many people doing it already and I didn’t think I’d be into it. Next thing you know I’m finding myself shooting more riding than non-riding, even to this day. I thought you needed a fancy fisheye lens and expensive lighting setup with three flashes, pocketwizards, tripods and all that. Until I found out that a bit of daylight and a prime lens was enough. I like simple things, kind of like riding. Bunnyhops, 180’s and wallrides are all I need to be stoked on riding. A simple camera is all I need to be stoked on shooting.
Don’t get me wrong though, I also appreciate photos that a lot of time and thought went into setting up the flashes and everything to get the shot. When done properly, it looks amazing. I just don’t think I’d have the patience to learn about photography lighting, then having to carry all that heavy gear in my camera bag.
My first camera was a Nikon D80 with a stock zoom lens. I bought a 50mm prime lens soon after because the zoom lens was just plain terrible. I kept the same setup until I sold it soon after I bought my first 35mm SLR last Fall, a Nikon FM2n with 50mm f/1.4 Ais. It was almost winter and I knew I wouldn’t be shooting much riding anymore since we’d be riding indoors anyway. I was recently saving to buy a Nikon D7000, much better camera than my old D80. But I’ve been using some of my friends digital cameras lately when I need it or don’t want to waste film on a trick that I know is going to take awhile to get done and I’m not sure if I really want to buy a digital again. I don’t know why but if feels shitty, kind of. Digital is definitely the way to go with riding though, quite a few riding photos I shot on film that I had high hopes for turned out to be shit. It sucks to wait sometimes up to a month or two to finish a roll and you have certain photos on your mind that you can’t wait to see how they turned out. Only to find out that the timing was off, rider is not in focus or underexposed and the sky is blown out. But, it also makes it that much more exciting and rewarding at the same time when the photo turns out the way you expected, or even better.
I just bought a Yashica Mat-124G last week. Some guy in his 50’s was selling it for cheap and the camera is in perfect condition. I wasn’t really looking to buy a new camera since I was still saving for the D7000 but I had to buy it. I’ve always wanted to shoot Medium Format so I’m super excited to start shooting with it. I’m still not sure if I’m going to buy a new digital, I’ll have to think about it for a while since it’s a lot of money. Until then, I’ll have fun shooting film.
To be honest, I’d say my friends are what influence me the most. So many of them shred on bikes that it’s easy for me to get stoked on shooting photos. Scott Barker is rad though, he doesn’t post a lot of his stuff online but whenever I see photos he shot of the FU guys they’re always super good. I subscribed to The Albion a few months ago and I’m really into George Marshall‘s and Daniel Benson‘s work. As for non-riding, walking around the city and finding interesting subjects usually do it for me.
Corey Dewey – Smith Grind 180: We rode that spot the other day and I told Dewey he should grind that ledge. A straight double peg grind on such a tall ledge seemed legit enough to me. Next thing you know he’s doing smiths to 180 on it…
Eric Trepanier – Pegs to Over: You never see Eric around too much. Sometimes you won’t hear anything from him for such long periods of time that you start thinking that maybe he quit riding. Until he reappears out of nowhere and is shredding harder than ever.
Greg Flag – Brakeless Nosepick, Ghetto Banks: Greg is basically a photographer’s dream. His riding is crazy, yet super dialed. He doesn’t mind doing a trick over again until you get the right shot. It’s always a good time when you’re around him, on and off the bike.
Jake Montgomery – Rail in Burlington, VT: Jake is traveling across Canada this summer. He spent a week in Montreal and on his last day here we decided to make the trip to Burlington, VT to escape the rain. That week was the first time I really got to hang out with him and he’s definitely one of the best dudes out there.
Pierre Gauthier – Switch Footed Footjam Whip, Wallride School
Sean Cooke moved from Prince Edward Island to Montreal about two years ago. He’s always down to ride and likes to party. He’s moving to Vancouver in a couple weeks and I wish him the best. I’ll definitely miss the homie.