Skating Through the Glass Door

Over the past two years, I have embarked on a project to visually and textually document women in male-dominated industries. From the start, I had the twofold goal of celebrating women’s accomplishments and creating a platform to share and validate experiences. This project has spanned mediums, states, collaborators, and a multitude of professions from filmmakers to foresters, all under the title “Glass Door.” A riff on the expression ‘glass ceiling’, the concept of a glass door acknowledges the barriers facing women in the workforce with a focus on the entryways we have been able to forge. With this ongoing project I hope to remedy the severe lack of representation that often aids in shutting women out of professions and perpetuates archaic notions of what we are capable of.

FDR skatepark in south Philly is a notorious destination for photographers. Nestled underneath the highway and entirely covered in brash graffiti, the energy is palpable from the minute you approach the towering halfpipe.

I arrived here one Sunday morning with the hope to meet female skaters, expanding my project into the murkier realm of masculine environments rather than strictly workplaces. The resulting photos attempt to depict the famous skatepark in a way that positions skaters Ci Ci and Emily at the core, a rarity among the thousands of photos of FDR one can easily find on Google images. Acknowledging skateboarding’s strong historic ties to masculinity, I hope these images are a powerful and graphic portrayal of women’s place in what Ci Ci described as an “extremely intimidating” arena.

left: Ci Ci, right: Emily

Female skaters often face suppression and belittlement. To combat this dynamic, my images attempt to magnifying their presence in the park, solely exploring the relationship between the individuals and their loaded environment. Before I arrived, Emily was already documenting Ci Ci’s runs and tricks on her iPhone. As the only female skaters at their park at home in north Michigan, the pair was enthusiastic about my additional documentation. They hope to use these images to provide representation for other women who are hesitant to start skating.

Emily getting a running start to make it up the steep wall of the bowl after wiping out at the bottom.

 

Ci Ci gliding across the flat portion of the park, waiting her turn on the halfpipe. She is framed by light streaming in from the gaps in the highway above.

 

Ci Ci staying firmly on her board as she reaches a horizontal position nearly parallel to the base of the bowl.

 

You can check out the rest of the images in my series here:

http://www.kristinastallvik.com/zine-2/

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