The Panoramic Series
Berlin with Jan Kliewer
Explore Phil Evans scenic vision in this exclusive four-part series supported by Dakine in collaboration with Carhartt and Lodown. Enjoy the first part with Jan Kliewer in the Streets of Berlin.
Phil Evans is documenting skateboarding in a wider context. He built custom-made wide angle lenses to compose all-encompassing urban interactions. Explore his scenic vision in this exclusive four-part series supported by Dakine, Carhartt and Lodown. Let's tune into the first part with the one and only Warschauer Benches housekeeper Jan Kliewer, representing the streets of Berlin.
Premiering this series with Lodown, we'd like to pass the mic to Phil Evans to give us the panoramic lowdown:
Like most creative inspiration, the idea for The Panoramic Series came to me somewhat accidentally, this time while playing with a friend's old 35 mm still camera. I had originally borrowed the camera from a friend to see if I could use my digital camera to shoot through the viewfinder of the 35mm camera and to experiment with the effects that this would present. I came across a different feature on the cheap old model that caught my attention a little more.
I noticed it had a "panoramic" setting. Now this was a really cheap plastic camera, so I was curious as to how it could offer such a luxurious effect, and upon simple investigation it became apparent that the effect was not so elaborate but quite genius in its simplicity. When the panoramic setting was turned on the shot was simply cropped in half horizontally with a little piece of plastic that would swing into place and the beautiful wide panoramic effect was still achieved.
Queue two minutes later and I am sticking two pieces of gaffer tape to the screen of my DSLR… as Ernst Haas said when asked about the best wide angle lens "Take two steps backwards. Look for the ah-ha". I had found the ah-ha!
Apart from shooting the skating, I also wanted the city to serve as a subject that was equally as important as the tricks that were happening. The opportunity to really capture skating within the inner-city context came around quite organically given that I had to already shoot the skating from a relatively long distance, so the skater appears in the frame as just a small element that exists as part of this urban context, rather than a subject that is highlighted really close-up (usually with a fisheye in a very quick shot) at a spot that could be anywhere in the world.
The panoramic series is something that continues to excite me the further I work with it as it is still something that is refreshing to my eyes. The format allows me to not only view the skating in a new manner, but also the environment in which it takes place. Without the visual and creative restriction placed upon me by the narrow format I would have never noticed shots that I am now seeing. There are only certain compositions that fit this format so it offers a new way for me to explore a city which is my favorite thing about this project - I get to explore various corners of these urban environments while also getting to take a "step back" and try look at the city as a whole and to somehow translate the unique atmosphere, adventure, and experience that the city has offered me into these short films.
photos & video by Phil Evans
words. Phil Evans & JK