Freedom Above Ground
Young Russian photographer Alina Usmanova’s recent photography work deals with Moscow’s skater subcultures. She shot skater Stepa who has previously worked with Gosha Rubchinskiy. Usmanova met Stepa through another mutual skating friend and was inspired to photograph Stepa and his interiority as combined with skateboarding. Stepa and his friends are part of a group influenced by American skate culture called “Shrimps”. “For them, skateboarding is freedom, [a] dialogue with the world and at the same time [an] immersion within themselves. Guys like him inspire Gosha Rubchinsky,” Usmanova stated.
In her photo series with Stepa, Usmanova strove to achieve an intrinsic quality to skating: “I wanted to show growing up and devotion to [skating] not as one of the ways of transport, but as part of something inherent. I wanted see this subculture through the inner world of Stepa.” Her work creates a natural and innate aura around skating—it’s much more than a lifestyle and rather than going beyond, it turns inward to Stepa and his friends. As she puts it, she photographs “the guys who almost never part with [their skateboards], [but] found their wings in this.”
Images courtesy of Alina Usmanova
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