INTERVIEW WITH NIKITA

Posted on May 04, 2018 - All words Nikita

G.W.R. with Concrete Girls Photographer Charlotte Thomas

 Photo Credit: Thomas Cole

Photo Credit: Thomas Cole

Charlotte Thomas is the a UK-based skateboarder-turned-photographer behind the book, "Concrete Girls"; a photo project documenting the female skate scene in the UK. We were lucky enough to snag her for a photoshoot recently (check out our Instagram for photos from the shoot!) and also made time to sit down with her and get to know the girl behind the lens. Enjoy!

 Photo Credit: Thomas Cole 

Photo Credit: Thomas Cole 

Hi I'm Charlotte Thomas, I'm a skateboarder and skateboard photographer. I've been skateboarding and a photographer for over 15 years now. I have my first published book out in June 2018 titled Concrete Girls, which is a huge 5 year project that I'm very proud of! 

What do you like about shooting photos, and, specifically- skateboarding?

It allows me to meet new people, I love capturing the natural vibe of people. It's great to see a smile or hear laughter when we all hang out. This is only caught when they don't focus on me shooting so I try to stay invisible throughout the day and just let people skate. 

When we are focused on a trick it's great team work, two creative minds working towards creating that perfect photograph. I always remember to respect the skateboarder- I have to make them look as awesome as I can. It's important to listen, be patient and offer encouragement. 

What's been your best moment behind the camera so far?

Photographing my hero Ryan Allan and getting to hang with him during the Supra Skateboarding UK Tour . He is a friend now and he will offer me advice on photos and projects - a real nice dude!

When did you start shooting photos? 

I started shooting skateboarding and producing photography when I picked up my board at the age of 16. However, I started taking skateboard photography seriously in 2014 when I started a book project called, "Concrete Girls". Before that, I would shoot skateboarding for fun and worked in Fashion in London. 

"Concrete Girls”, that sounds awesome! Tell us more about the project.

Yes, Concrete Girls came about in 2014 after I spent the weekend down in Plymouth with Stefani Nurding shooting for Sidewalk Skateboarding Magazine. After that trip the idea in my head was to create a book capturing the UK female skate scene. When I first started the project I didn't have a publisher, I just started contacting girls all over the UK asking if I could meet them to shoot photography for a book idea. 

Then, 4 years into the project I got in touch with Cindy Whitehead who owns Girls is Not a 4 letter Word Publishing House. She agreed I would be the second book to be published via them!

A dream come true. 

The whole project has been created and executed solely by myself, it's something I'm very proud of- I've worked very hard on this. 

ConcretegirlsPR2.JPG

Above image from Charlotte Thomas for Concrete Girls release


That's amazing! Without even seeing the book yet, we already are so engaged by the title and the story you just told us. How did you choose the name, “Concrete Girls”? Does is mean something to you?

Concrete Girls is very simple- we skateboard on concrete and my subject was girls. 

Ah! Simple and straightforward, that's perfect.


What do you connect with in skateboarding? 

The one thing skateboarding has taught me is to be yourself, push hard, commit, express yourself, build friendships and see the world.  It's freedom to me ! 
 

For real- it is!

What are you doing when you're not skateboarding or shooting photos?

At the moment I'm working on building the Concrete Girls brand and launching the book. It will be available to buy June 2018. Please follow @concretegirls on Instagram!


Also, I practice Yoga and Self Love to manage my anxiety and depression. Spending time with my Gorgeous man Tom, he loves to take photographs too so he will often come with me on skate adventures. Looking after our fish, Tom and I have 6 Mollies.  

Learning to build skateboards with my brother Adam. Oh, plus there's getting prepared to be an Aunty. EXCITING TIMES ! 


Alright, the last one - Top five must-have snacks for any day of Skateboarding!


Wow never been asked this before, ok here goes:

Water 2-litres
Flask of English Tea
Pot of Humous with Carrots and Celery sticks
Cheese Sandwich
More English Tea! 

 

Um, yum! You're making us hungry- we're packing that the next time we get out to the skatepark now too!

Thank you again to Charlotte for taking the time to sit down with us, and also for coming out to the skatepark with us for our most recent Nikita shoot. If you haven't already, go hit @concretegirls with a follow and double tap all those pics- they're completely rad. 

 

Below Images taken by Thomas Cole. 

Other Skateboarding Photography

Below is other skateboarding photography I have taken along side the Concrete Girls project. 

 Harry  - Hereford

Harry  - Hereford

 Lucian & Dennis - Bristol

Lucian & Dennis - Bristol

 Harry - Hereford

Harry - Hereford

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Thomas Harrison - London

Thomas Harrison - London

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Henry - Hereford

Henry - Hereford

 Nicki - Hereford

Nicki - Hereford

 Habgood - Bristol

Habgood - Bristol

 Erik - Bristol

Erik - Bristol

 Summer- Hereford

Summer- Hereford

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Lizard - Bristol 

Lizard - Bristol 

 Penny - Bristol

Penny - Bristol

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Brad - Bristol

Brad - Bristol

 Macy - London

Macy - London

 Tom Carr - Bristol

Tom Carr - Bristol

 Joxa - Hereford

Joxa - Hereford

 Thomas Harrison - London

Thomas Harrison - London

 Tom- Bristol

Tom- Bristol

 Dennis - London 

Dennis - London 

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Ryan - Hereford 

Ryan - Hereford 

 Chris - Hereford

Chris - Hereford

 Tom Carr -Bristol

Tom Carr -Bristol

 Ryan - Bristol

Ryan - Bristol

 Leon & Simon - London

Leon & Simon - London

 Joe - Bristol

Joe - Bristol

 Max - Hereford

Max - Hereford

 Supra - Bristol

Supra - Bristol

 Karim - London

Karim - London

 Erik - Bristol

Erik - Bristol

 Lizard - Bristol

Lizard - Bristol

 Leon - London

Leon - London

 Manny & Chris - London

Manny & Chris - London

 Parsons - London

Parsons - London

 Jamie - London

Jamie - London

 Unknown - London

Unknown - London

 Simon & Chris - London

Simon & Chris - London

 Palace - London

Palace - London

 My Crew - London

My Crew - London

Clemence Boulgom Cat X Concrete Girls

I was so honoured and touched today, a very talented illustrator took one of my skate photos and a portrait of me, combined the both to create this beautiful picture. 

ConcretegirlsxBoulgomCat.jpeg

100% taking pride and place in my home! 

Be sure to follow her @BoulgomCatCBC on Instagram. 

 

In My Early 20's

Hi I'm Charlotte, I'm 34 years old, I'm a skateboarder ( old timer these days ) and skateboard photographer. 

I started skating at 16 years old but really found my skate home in Leeds, where I spent my University life. 

Hyde Park, Leeds was my home for most of my 20's, this is where I spent days taking some really hard slams for months just trying to ollie up a curb! The lads I spent most days with, would be constantly picking me up off the floor. 

A few years went by and I had managed to learn to boardslide a small rail, this was the only "wow" trick I could do for months, so I was given the nickname 'Charlie Boardslide'. It stuck and now thats my name among some of my closet friends. 

As time went on I grew more and more confident through skating everyday, I started to learn heel flips, I could ollie off blocks and up curbs but my favourite time skating was through the University to classes. There is something so free about cruising the streets on your board, especially on a summers day in Leeds. 

Leeds was the best time of my life skating but as mentioned in my talk last Saturday at House of Vans London, I was the only regular girl skater in Leeds for nearly 10 years. Girls were dotted all over the country but it was word of mouth via the guys that I would hear of another girl skater in the area or from another city. 

Lois Pendlebury was a northern lass but she was away so I never got to skate with her until the last few months of my time in Leeds. 

Jenna Selby, another amazing photographer had organised a Girl Skate Tour - called Mega Mission this was the first time I got to meet any other female skaters at that time. 

After many years in Leeds I decided to move to Barcelona where I lived with Maria Falbo, she was a skater from Manchester at the time, we met through friends and just clicked so moved in with her.  It was an amazing experience, a completely different culture to what I was used to, so laid back and people skated very late at night, Macba was the go to place then.

We lived a few flats away from JB Gillet, one of my heroes at the time. We would often see pro skaters cruising the streets and hanging out, it was so exciting to a young skater back then to hang out with your idols as if it was normal.  I had to be very cool and relaxed you know!

(Below is my only video part from my time in Leeds, remember we had no social media back then.)

When I came back from Barcelona, I moved to London to start my career in Fashion. I was a shoot producer for many years for Topshop and Topman. Skating took a back seat during this time however most Saturdays I would go to Mile End skatepark for a mini cruise to keep the old legs working! 

Once I got the big city out of my system, I decided to move back to the countryside, Hereford where I was born. The skatepark was voted by the lovely Lucy Adams as one of the best in the country. So if you ever get the chance come down and see me. 

A few years back now, I cracked my coccyx skating the bowl it was then I couldn't skateboard anymore, this was when the dark times became real. I had hit rock bottom and one of my old friends said to me, why don't you start taking pictures of skateboarding to keep in with the scene and still see your friends. 

So I did and the rest is history. 

I still skate but only cruise these days but I still love it and I cannot wait for the Summer. 

(Below are some images taken of me in BCN days, me and JB Gillet, Mega Mission Tour, meeting the Nefarious Crew and shooting Stef in Plymouth for my feature in Sidewalk Magazine. )