Tom Kemmer got his first skateboard, a Variflex Terror with an image of a wolf face on the bottom, in fifth grade for his birthday. From the first rolls down his driveway, skateboarding gave him a sense of adventure like nothing else he had ever experienced and, eventually, its challenges made him fall in love.
Kemmer has translated those challenges into the challenges of documenting skateboarding successfully. This new collection of photography and video footage, Local Spots, is the result. Through this series, shot mainly in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area, Kemmer captures its physical, mental, and social challenges, using skateboarding as a literal and metaphorical lens to chronicle the obsession with technique and the struggles with an activity often branded as deviant, along with the individuals it takes to face them.
Kemmer’s art goes hand in hand with the reason he skates: the adventure. “I like the act of creating, getting my hands dirty finding a new skate spot, or making an unskateable spot skateable by building a ramp or pouring some concrete,” Kemmer says, adding that working with other skaters is as integral to the process as his own vision. “I like to shoot photos of the guys I actually go skating with. There’s a great collaboration that can happen, bouncing ideas off each other about places to shoot or tricks to try.”
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