To Balance is Trust: photographing women and non-binary skateboarders

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H annah, from Edinburgh, has been photographing women’s skateboarding around the world for more than 10 years, inspired by the diverse faces and underground culture of the scene. It has been her mission to question society’s perception of gender in sport and challenge how women are represented in the media through her images of skating and portraits of skaters.

Hannah won the inaugural Getty Images #ShowUs photography grant in March 2020 with the project, which aimed to look beyond stereotypes to shine the light on the faces of women, non-binary and femme-identifying skaters and support them to tell their stories.

“The support of the Getty Images grant that meant this year I could officially shoot it and show a side of skateboarding many are yet to see,” she says. “I am really passionate about showcasing the inspiring, diverse and accessible side of it. I hope to intercept the competitive controlled vision of skateboarding, which many have seen for the first time at the Olympics, to look beyond stereotypes, to shine the light on the faces of women and non-binary skaters, and support them to tell their stories.”

Amy Dunbar

Skateboarding to me is freedom. It is self-expression, it is pure joy and it is frustration. Skateboarding has given me so much confidence in such a short period of time – in a way that has allowed me to discover and explore parts of myself I never had before Amy Dunbar

Amy Dunbar, from Scotland, pushes to get more female, non-binary and queer people on boards through her skating.

“In freedom comes all of these things and more, and grabbing my board and beginning a journey with myself is the most freedom I have found. My love for skateboarding has truly just begun to be explored and I am excited to see where it takes me next. Thank you skateboarding for being the most incredible and challenging journey.”

Emily Rothney

Scottish skateboarder Emily Rothney lands a frontside rock on her garden mini-ramp in Carrbridge in the Highlands. She skates here every day with her sister Rosie.

Learning new tricks can be scary, but when you work hard getting the trick the fear disappears Emily

Emily Rothney, 13, on her garden mini-ramp in Carrbidge. Emily is a talented local skateboarder and snowboarder.

“I love to go skateboarding as it makes me feel good. Going to other skateparks always gives different challenges. Learning new tricks can be scary but when you work hard getting the trick the fear disappears. I like to go fast round the bowl and round the pump tracks. It is so much fun.”

Yuri Murai

Japanese skateboarder and videographer Yuri Murai has been filming women’s skateboarding for more than a decade and has released three feature-length skate films with her crew, Joy and Sorrow.

Skateboarding is part of life. Even if you aren’t skateboarding, you’re always thinking about skateboarding, like walking around the city, looking at it like a skatepark, and going to buy clothes to look good on a skateboard Yuri

Yuri does a pop shuvit off a ledge at Komazawa skatepark in Tokyo, Japan. In 2018, before the Olympics took place, some of the global women’s skate scene came together here to skate and meet as part of The Skate Exchange.

“Skateboarding is part of life. Even if you aren’t skateboarding, you’re always thinking about skateboarding, like walking around the city, looking at it like a skatepark, and going to buy clothes to look good on a skateboard. And the biggest reason is the companions. I might have quit now if I had no friends. I think that I was able to continue by creating a skateboard network with my friends and connecting with everyone.”

Mac Morrice

When I’m skating I feel happy and I learn something new every day. It doesn’t matter how good you are at skateboarding, just that you have fun Mac

Mac Morrice, eight, is from Scotland and has been skating for more than five years. She is part of a new generation of young girls taking up skateboarding thanks to the influence of Sky Brown and the wider female skate scene.

Christana Amadi

Born in London, Christana Amadi has only recently taken up skateboarding and joined the Melanin Skate Gals and Pals group to do so.

Marcia Mijnhijmer

Marcia Mijnhijmer from the Netherlands, who is part of the Melanin Skate Gals and Pals, ollies during a session with other skaters from the community.

Denia Kopita

Denia Kopita is one of the most technical new female skateboarders on the scene in Athens, Greece. She also volunteers her skills working with Free Movement Skateboarding, an NGO helping refugees locally.

Marcia Mijnhijmer

Marcia Mijnhijmer pauses for a portrait during a skate session in east London. She is part of the growing Melanin Skate Gals and Pals community.

Lily Rice

Wheelchair motocross champion Lily Rice, from Wales, carves the bowl at Haverfordwest skatepark.

Lily Rice, a wheelchair motocross rider, is pushing to make skateparks more accessible to all, like this one in Haverfordwest.

Virginia Kritikaki

Queer skateboarder and photographer Virginia Kritikaki poses with her board during a skate session at the Athens Olympic Sport complex.

Maz Mayassi

Maz Mayassi, originally from France, is co-founder of Melanin Skate Gals and Pals. She lives in London and is building a black-led, BIPOC, queer skate community. She works to bring more people of colour into skateboarding through events and awareness-raising activities.

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