Owen Peters is a 21-year-old inline skater and photographer, born and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England.
How long have you been skating?
I’ve been skating on and off my whole life. There are photos of me super young with little action man skates on. But it was never something I stuck at for long as I love exploring new sports and trying new things. So I’d say around ten years on boots now.
How did you get into photography?
My journey with photography started around my 15th birthday. I was lucky enough to get a second hand Sony A57 which was a perfect camera to learn with. I used to take it to Bones Skate Park and take photos of the lads. Some of my first shots are Matty Vella (which I still have somewhere) and some of the local scooter riders.
It took me a while to pick it up as I was at college/school most of the time and skating the other. But when I was 17, I got diagnosed with a condition called PoTS, which made me collapse suddenly a couple of times a day. This meant I had a ton of free time off college and sat in my room or a hospital bed. With not much else to do, I took this as a huge opportunity to really sit and learn all about my camera and explore how to get more out of it.
Owen and his brother Sam Peters. Photo by Enna Bartlett
What gear are you currently using?
I currently shoot with a Nikon D800, with the hopes of grabbing the 850 soon. I shoot on a mix of 3 prime lenses, usually an 85, 35, and a fisheye, but I am always changing gear.
I use 2-4 Yongnuo YN685 Remote flashes depending on the environment and how I imagine the image to come out.
How long have you been shooting skate photography?
I’ve been shooting skating for around 5-6 years, but I would only consider myself shooting it correctly for the last three.
Has any of your work appeared in any magazines or publications?
Being reasonably new to skate photography, I missed many of the skate print opportunities around in the 2000s. So, the majority of my work appears on online interviews, skate companies’ websites, social media, along with a few online issues of magazines.
This was up until recently when the Manchestuhhh lads and I decided to shoot our own print magazine.
What was your first published photo?
I really cannot remember haha. I shoot a lot for sports clubs, bands, and fashion, so probably something associated with them, but I have actually no clue in terms of blading.
You recently released your magazine Manchestuhhh documenting the Manchester, UK skate scene. What made you decided to publish your magazine? Was anyone else involved in helping you create it?
Me and Rob Dalton have chatted about a zine for a little while now, but due to work commitments, it was never really something I thought to be achievable at the quality I would like to do it. This was until lockdown hit in the UK, and I lost all my freelance work. The lads and I would head out on sessions and shoot as much content as we could, which kick-started both the Instagram and the spark for the magazine.
I was lucky enough to find a young Swedish creative by the name of Cornelia Solsjo, who is a super talented magazine designer/ creator who got involved in the project. She made things 1000% times more manageable. Having her on board allowed me to bounce my crazy ideas around and get second opinions on many things. I can’t thank her enough!
Rob and Matty also got out on most of the sessions to film the clips for the QR codes and, between them, edited and put together the raw footage. Thank you, lads!
How did the process go? Was it more complicated than you expected to do?
The process was much more challenging than anticipated. I thought it would be around half the size, no/ or little writing, and just a little laugh for between the MCR lads. It soon grew as we managed to get more shots, and I struggled with presenting my ideas to the standard of what I had in my head. I never want to release anything I am not proud of, which made me question the mag every step of the way. But six months down the line, having it in my hand and being able to post all around the world is amazing.
Thank you to everyone involved and the biggest big ups to the lads getting out skating. Manchestuuuuhhhhh
Have you worked together with any skating brands?
Ermm, not so much. I think skating is in a weird place in that sense, with a lot of brands not appreciating the value of their skaters, photography, and film work. My photos are used by some of the biggest skating brands, with very little back from them in return. Maybe a tag or a few quid. It’s never really like working together with a brand, more like, I shoot a tonne of content with my friends, get promised t-shirts and products that usually never turn up.
It sort of gets to the point where I would instead just shoot for me and my audience then work for someone who doesn’t value the work. This was one of the driving forces behind the mag. It was an opportunity to promote our skate scene and not a brand that did not value both the skaters and my time.
But I suppose that’s just blading.
What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Manchestuhhh 100%! I shoot a lot for work but having time to capture something I was genuinely passionate about and working with some of my childhood legends was terrific.
Who are your favorite people to collaborate with?
Is there anyone who you’ve wanted to shoot with but never had the opportunity?
Man, Eugen Enin. After seeing Sam Cooper’s shots with him, I would love to get something organized and shoot something myself. His style and trick vocabulary is super unique and allows getting photos that have never been replicated before.
Do you have an all-time favorite photo you’ve shot?
I don’t think I do haha. Tough question. It is continually changing. At the minute, I love the shot of Kalleó Hipolito front royaling over that massive drop in Deansgate, Manchester. (As seen in Manchestuhhh, sorry haha).
What’s the most challenging photo you’ve ever taken?
The one that really stands out to me is, when shooting Sammy Optiks section in the mag, he had an idea to shoot a photo from across a river with the reflection of him in the water, doing a grind down a big rail in Spinningfields, Manchester. My lights were reasonably new to me as I had recently changed, and I thought the signal would reach them if I put them on the other side of the river with Sammy.
However, maybe 1/10 it would go off when we got shooting, which made it super difficult to time a shot with Sammy skating. With the added complexity of not being able to explain or talk to him. The picture eventually paid off maybe 20 times later, but at least I know for next time.
How does skating today compare to how it was when you first began?
I was super young when I first met all the Mcr lads! I must have been 12 or 13 at Bones skatepark. I was too shy to talk to them but always aspired to skate as they did. It’s crazy to me that not even ten years later, these lads I now call friends, and we all get out together every week. So for me, I feel skating is a smaller but much tighter community than when I first started.
Alex and Rob
Where do you want to take your photography into the future?
I want to keep progressing. I was lucky enough two years ago to leave my job and make photography my full-time gig. Hopefully, in another two years, I want to be much better, adaptable, and hit more prominent clients than I ever have!
Is there any photographer who influenced your approach to shooting photos?
When I first started, I only really knew of Duncan Clarke. He covered Laced, SlammJamm along with most of the skate sessions at Bones. But as I got older, I looked up to Adam Kola, Sam Cooper, and some non-skating related photographers such as Paul Cooper, Iz Hanahmed, and Tim Wallace.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I’ve got to say, someone who I really aspire to be like is Paul Cooper. Paul is a super talented photographer for Manchester who I have been lucky enough to work with. He shoots for a lot of big sports brands and clubs. But Paul has established himself as the best commercial sports photographer in the north, and being at that caliber and quality is the dream.
Do you do any other photography outside of skating?
The bulk of my work is around sports, fashion, and product photography. I shoot for a few brands, all selling different products, which is fantastic as my working day is always different and interesting.
Has COVID-19 changed how you guys go out skating and shooting? If so, how?
We already have a fairly small crew that goes out consistently; the only thing that changed was everyone got out more.
Are you taking any precautions while out against COVID-19?
Yeah, of course! Some of the lads wear masks; we try and steer away from fist bumps to a trusty elbow. It took a while to adapt to, with my first instinct whenever I see a big trick landed to go and share the stoke, but it’s something we take fairly seriously, without it dictating our sessions.
- Follow Owens Peter Photographer on Instagram.
- To find out more about Manchestuhhh visit manchestuhhh.co.uk and follow them on Instagram.
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