Young Chesterfield photographer captures town's skate aces
A young photography student and skater from Chesterfield has captured stunning images of his friends performing their best tricks.
Eighteen-year-old James Moon is in his first year of a Level 3 Photography course at Chesterfield College.
But, as a confident skater of five years standing, he is uniquely positioned to capture the amazing skills of his fellow boarders.
He said: “I have been skating for about five years so I’m pretty confident and I can do all the tricks.
“I like to take photos of nature and things like that but taking photos of people skating allows me to combine two of the things I like doing.
“When I am skating I enjoy the process of learning your skills and now I enjoy taking photos of people doing that as well.”
James - who lives with his parents and two sisters in Brampton - uses the skatepark behind the Ravenside retail park in Chesterfield.
“It is definitely the best one in town, people come from places like Staveley to use it,” says James.
“It’s so popular that on a weekend up to 50 skaters can be using it at the same time - it can get quite crowded. When it is that busy you just have to wait until there is a gap.”
The park - which was built in around 2010 - has just had lamp posts installed but these have not yet been turned on.
This means that the kids who use it can’t stay after dark - which in the winter means skating on the streets. James says this is when problems with residents can occur.
“People see us as a nuisance really - they don’t like us doing it,” he says.
“They have a go at us but there is no law saying we can’t skate on the streets.
“We are not causing trouble - we are just enjoying ourselves doing what we do but sometimes we get the police called on us.” This problem should be eased after the lights at the park are finally switched on. But as well as this, James has another suggestion for improving its facilities. “I think extending it would be great - there is a large amount of grass behind it which isn’t used for anything.
“That would make it even better than it currently is and mean it would get less crowded at busy times as well.”
Long term James would like to use the skills he has learnt on his course to become a professional photographer - hopefully in sports. As is evident from his photographs, he has become adept at freezing the action to show the tricks the skaters are doing, balancing shutter speed and aperture to get the perfect shot.
James’ skateboarding friends agreeing with him that the sport is great fun but has suffered from something of an image problem in recent years.
Robert Watkinson - who is 15 and currently attends Brookfield Community School - has been skating for around two years. He said: “I enjoy skating because it’s fun and feels good.
“It has helped me get out everyday and I even sold my PlayStation as I never used it.
“The park is one of the best in Chesterfield - the way it’s built allows you to take lots of different options.
“A smooth path has also been built into it meaning our feet don’t get muddy.”
Robert said that he uses the park everyday in the summer but hopes to soon be able to use it year round after the lights are switched on.
However, the park and some of the people who use do have a bit of a bad reputation, he admits.
“Some groups coming down, doing nothing but smoking, graffiti and fighting - this is why skaters are looked down on by the public.
“We get dirty looks off people and we had people shouting at us when we aren’t doing any harm.
“Sometimes we even have the police called on us by security guards.”
Another regular is Jobe Tattersall-Ward who is 16 and attends Henry Fanshawe School in Dronfield. Jobe says he has been skating for about three years and likes it because it means he always has something to do. “It’s just a sport you can enjoy doing on your own or with your mates,” he says. “The skatepark stops us from going into the town centre and getting into trouble, but we still get a hard time, mostly from older people.
“People think we are drug takers, vandals, criminals and just general nuisances - but they just don’t know us.”