DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

SBC Cover

I got an email from Sarah Conrad just before I went to bed the other night. You remember her, we talked about her back here in April. She dropped a line to say "thanks" for the shot we got published. I hadn't heard anything or seen anything so it came as a bit of a surprise to find that it was the cover of the Snowboard Canada Women's Annual.

It's always nice to get a cover shot but I especially like this one. I had a good feeling about her Japan to fakie as soon as we shot it which is probably why I wrote that blog. I got the pdf from John Scarth at SBC today but I still don't have the issue in my hands. Gribbon has three copies though so hopefully I'll get my greasy hands on one soon. Here it is.


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Mountain Photographer, Portrait Photographer, Snowboard Photographer...

I've had a lot of feedback to a recent article I wrote for Snowboard Canada Magazine. The funny thing about my career as a photographer is that it came out of my desire to be a writer. In the end I'm doing both but I've met so many good writers over the years that I can't take that side of my career as seriously as the photography.

In any case, SBC had been asking me to write something for their "RANT" column for a long time and I had been trying to avoid it because as I get more experience I realize that I don't want to invest in negative energy and would rather keep it positive. They persisted and one day one I was feeling particularly snarky I pounded out 750 words or so for the column. Now when I write something for a magazine, I do it so that it will be an excuse to run one of my photos. That's a dirty little secret in our world, if you can write, you'll get published more. That's all there is to it.

Anyhoo, the article came out and John Scarth used his own shot to illustrate it. Irony.

Here is the article in case you missed it:

Keep it to yourself.
 
For a long time now I’ve been known as an opinionated guy. Part of the punk rock chip on my shoulder still survives from my teens and as much as I mellow with age, there is a bitter cynic lurking just below the surface. I don’t really let that guy out much anymore. I’ve come to realize that when you invest in the negative energy, all you get is negative results.
 
But sometimes things just Piss. Me. Off.
 
I’m working on a book right now, and it’s about the history of our sport, and about the Westbeach company. It’s been really interesting to dig into the vaults and get to know where we came from a bit more. I mean, I lived it, but I was also a teenager and some of those years are a little blurry. So I’m looking at the pictures and stories with fresh eyes and let me tell you something - our history is something to be proud of.
 
But then somewhere along the line things changed. In the late 90’s there was a lot of consolidation of brands. Little guys either banded together with bigger guys, or they went out of business. Ski companies smelled money and moved in. People with real money, like
Trump money, started looking at snowboarding like it was the next big, great investment. Some of them bought in too.
 
So what pisses me off? The culture that killed the Westbeach Classic pisses me off. It was the best snowboard event in Canada. Some people think it was the best event in the world. And it went away. Why did it go away? Because Westbeach got bought, sold, cut up into pieces, and eventually two groups of people who had nothing to do with the original company, snowboarding, or the heritage of the sport, and only cared about bottom lines, signed an absolutely horrendous contract and pulled the bloody pumping heart out of the company. And they didn’t even know that they were doing irreparable damage to Canadian snowboarding. Didn’t even care. It pisses me off that they were ever even
allowed to be in a position to make decisions that affected our sport and our future. Of course they are going to do the wrong thing, they have no vested interest in the sport. So how in the world did venture capitalists and corporations get control of our future? We gave it to them.
 
When a company reaches a certain size, it becomes too expensive for them to keep doing business without outside money. Outside money doesn’t just grow on trees so when you get big enough and want to take it to the next level, chances are you will have to make a deal with the devil. Lots of snowboard companies made these deals to try to grow into a bigger company, but take a look around the landscape of Canadian snowboard history and you will see it littered with the bodies of companies that couldn’t make it work. Storm, Treeline, Rev, Or:g, Limited, Luxury, to name a few, and that’s just some of the board companies that come to mind.  So why am I mad? Am I some sort of class warrior socialist hero? No. I’m not that guy. But I am patriotic, and even more, I’m a snowboarder who cares about the future of Canadian snowboarding.
 
We need more Canadian snowboard brands. And we need companies that can say no to a bad deal and manage their growth. Anyone can go buy snowboarding culture at the mall every day, and instead of being a reflection of the people who live it, these days it’s just being force fed to them. I don’t want focus group tested colour ways. I don’t want 5 companies selling the same red and black striped jacket year after year. What I do want is individuals to make things that are unique. I want for them to get noticed for that, maybe get a little credit for that, and not get ripped off by some multi-national corporation. I want regional diversity. I want the people I meet on the road to look different from the people I meet at home. I want arrogant heroes and unapologetic badass locals. I want them to invent trends, grow them, and then when they're ready - unleash their culture on the clones.
 
Mostly I want riders to care enough to buy something local, something Canadian or even better I want you all to quit fucking buying “cool” at the mall and start making it yourself.
 
- dano

A photographer and sometimes social commentator, dano has been called both unapologetic and arrogant.
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Recent Work, Westbeach Heritage book, Grenade Games 5.

It has been pointed out to me that I should maybe showcase some of the things I've been up to lately. As you can see from the last blog, my last year has been really busy as well as really diverse in terms of the projects that I've taken on. I'm still waiting to get the hard copy of Whistler/Blackcomb's media kit to see the portraits I shot for it, but I'll show you some of the other things going on.

Go here to see the Westbeach Heritage blog. We'll be leaking bits and pieces from the book in the next six months as we lead up to the publication, as well as some things that didn't make the book that are super interesting.

Of course I'm
charging hard on my new project with Monster Energy and Grenade to bring the Grenade Games to Whistler for the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. I'm really impressed that after voicing what a lot of people were thinking last year, that the TWSSF has taken an active stance to make a better festival and let me be a part of it. It's very much a "put up or shut up" situation and I've turned my focus to this for the season. Join the Facebook group here for updates.

I've had a bunch of work getting published in the last month or so too. Here is some of it that I like best:



The word "legend" makes me feel old. Snowboard Canada Mag.

Landvik rules. I'm glad Anon picked this shot.


Devun Walsh's interview in Frequency Mag is pretty great. It's a good issue and you all should pick it up.
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A box full of magazines

I just found a box full of magazines. Some of my covers from over the years. Unfortunately they are mostly older and a bunch are missing, but still, it's cool to see some of my old snowboard photos. Chris Dufficy, Devun Walsh, Jf Pelchat, Bjorn Leines, Shaun Palmer, Dionne Delesalle, Brian Savard, Marc Morriset, Mark Landvik, Shin Campos and a bunch more. When I get the rest of my archives gathered together I'll try to make a comprehensive gallery.

d.

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Devun Walsh Photo

As long as I've been a snowboard photographer, there have always been certain riders who have stood above their peers. Taking photos of Devun Walsh has always been easy. He's a hard working dude and he loves being out in the snow. I was pulling shots today for an upcoming interview with Devun and couldn't help throwing one out there to you guys. I have hundreds of pictures of Devun and over time I hope to get them all scanned so that I can share them. Thanks Dev.


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Style


The "Style issue" of Future Snowboarding Magazine is on newsstands right now and I have a little quote and a couple shots in it. I actually wrote a much longer quote that was truncated because of space issues, so I thought I'd put it out here in full. When I was looking for it on my hard drive I found this other piece I wrote about style for a "dos and don'ts" in the Snowboarders' Handbook. I liked it so I included it too. Enjoy.

Dano Pendygrasse

"Snowboarding is one of those lucky sports where the scoreboard at the end of the game isn’t the thing that defines greatness. Very few of our sport's iconic riders are remembered for their contest results. Even great contest riders tend to fade into the background if they are perceived to have “wack style”. Style is king in snowboarding. A long time ago I was asked “What is style?” for an article in Snowboarder magazine and I answered something about it being “the art of making whatever it is you’re doing, look like it’s worth doing.” I’d stand by that today because when you see someone with amazing style riding they just seem so comfortable in their skin, so fluid and in their element, that you can’t help but appreciate that you are watching them do what they were meant to do. Craig Kelly was always held out as an example of great style, and even though his style came to represent the old school eventually, he was so often imitated that it is impossible not to recognize his status.

I have a memory that will always define Craig’s style for me, even though it had nothing to do with giant airs or steep descents. We were riding at Mt. Baker one day and had to ride from the top of Chair Two down to the mid-station of Chair One. It’s not far and it’s relatively flat, I buckled in for the short ride and when I looked up watched Craig throw his board down and jump on without strapping in. He rode down the flat cattrack for a short distance and then dropped off the side and into a couple feet of fresh snow. He rode down the short pitch making his signature turns, and then when he reached the lower cattrack proceeded to hit the small wall hits, playing around, grabbing his board, kicking out a foot here and there, all the while with nothing but gravity and his balance holding him to the board. It was effortless for him and I rode behind him in awe.

Not long after, Jamie Lynn changed style forever in snowboarding but Craig had cemented his legendary status by then. I feel lucky to be a part of something that rewards people for looking like they are having fun. That’s why style is so important to us, it is always present no matter what kind of riding you’re doing, no matter what level you are at, and if you are a lucky, someday somebody will ride up to you and say; “nice style”."


And the handbook thing:

Style is personal and for better or worse, everyone has it. Unlike a haircut though, you can’t just go out and get good style, so some people are stuck with the dreaded “wack” style. Really, what is good style anyway? Well to me, style has always been the ability to make whatever it is you are doing, look like it’s worth doing. You see some guy hucking himself off a jump, flailing through the air, swatting at flies, and your reaction isn’t necessarily “I want to do that!” But watch someone with good style smoothly spin a 540 on the same jump, land solidly and ride away, and you start to think that maybe that’s something worth giving a shot.

So how do you know if you have good style? Look at yourself in photos or video, or if that’s not an option, ask a friend. Ask an honest friend, though, because it’s hard to tell someone that they look like a gingerbread man riding a rodeo bull.

It is important to realize that style evolves. Craig Kelly had the best style in the world and just about everyone copied it as a result. Then one day Jamie Lynn came along and changed everything and suddenly there was a line drawn in the sand. If you still had “Craig leg” you were old school. As simple as that.

As fluid as style is, some things are big style no-no’s. The dreaded tindy grab is never going to be anything but wack, with the possible exception of being ironically humourous. It’s best to keep it in the tickle trunk though. Bringing it out too often may result in the mistaken impression that it is part of your arsenal…

If you want to play it safe, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you towards epic style:

Do:

Bend your goddamn knees. Nothing says “I’m wack” louder than straight legs and a bent waist.

Keep your arms calm. Waving or flapping your arms says, “I’m out of control” louder than Mark Sullivan with a microphone in front of him.

Keep ‘em down too. Arms in the air looks great in the crowd at a Motely Crue concert, not so much on your wicked surf slasher brah.

Try to keep the grabs between the feet, or on the end of your board. There are going to be a bunch of people telling you it’s ok to grab outside the bindings and it’s true, there are exceptions, and exceptional people who can pull it off, but if you are reading this, chances are you need to play it safe.

Don’t:

Claim anything. Ever. Here is a mountain rule that some folks just don’t seem to understand: If you tell someone how rad something you did is, it instantly becomes less than half as rad. Limit it to “did you see that?” or “how was my style?”. This tells your friends that you are stoked on what you did without the dreaded “claim”. (Now I know you are saying to yourself: “well I see those guys in the X Games claiming the hell out of shit with their arms in the air at the end of their run. Why is it ok for them?” Here’s the deal, a long time ago, it was discovered that judges reward that stupid little arm raise at the end of a run and it became almost like a last trick. Now fools raise their arms in ‘victory’ no matter what kind of run they had and the whole thing is ridiculous. Want to know how those guys act when there are no judges watching? Take a guess. Let me put it this way, if I got to keep every Rolex, Nixon and Timex raised above ear level on a training day I wouldn’t know what time to go to dinner.)

Grab outside your bindings. We’ve already established that you aren’t ready yet. Most folks never will be.

Assume that just because you bought all the gear, all the flair, and all the videos, that your style is world class. Most people rocking the current park costume look like clowns and don’t have the skills to back up the look. If you rip harder than all the other shredders on the mountain then maybe you are getting away with it, if not, you aren’t. (Your friends wanted to tell you, but it was too funny to laugh at you behind your back)

Snake someone’s line. It’s just so “not cool”. I can’t even tell you.

Now of course there are always exceptions to every rule, but until you’re writing this column, it’s probably just better than to play it safe and stick with the rules. One last thing: If you feel awkward, you probably look awkward.

dano
Pendygrasse snowboard photography, snowboarding photos, photographs of snowboarders, shred photographers, snowboard photographer, snow photographers, pictures of snowboarding, pictures of snowboarders, photos of snowboards, photos of snowboarding. Daniel Stephen Pendygrasse, DSP Photography.
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