December 2017

Things That Should Matter

Text: Gabriel Knowles Images: Rene Vaile

We all start somewhere. For photographer Rene Vaile it was as a skate photographer. These days you’re more likely to find Rene’s images hanging on a gallery wall or adorning the glossy pages of fashion magazines and the matte pages of sought after zines. “I used to shoot for Slam in Australia and Manual Magazine in New Zealand. I haven’t shot skating in years, I got really bored with the attitude of skateboarders. The role of a photographer at times is a tough one. A lot of the time the skater will dictate what the shoot will be – what the trick will be, what spot it is and how to hold the camera. I got burnt out. Skateboarding itself excites me much more than capturing it now. It’s self rewarding, especially in your old age you get back your old tricks and you fall down, it’s a constant challenge. Whereas with the skate photography it stays the same – the same angle, the same light, the same boring rehashed photo over and over. All these shots are all reminiscent of things that matter. Things that should matter.”

Below is a collection of Rene’s older work that for one reason or another largely went unpublished.

Rene Vaile
Justin Watene, unpublished, Auckland

Rene Vaile
“This was in an ad for a skateboard shop in Auckland. Glenn lives in Sydney now and he’s one of my favourite skaters and best dudes that I know.”

Rene Vaile
Glenn Wignall, ollie, Ngaruawahia

Rene Vaile
“Secombe’s a good friend who lives on the Gold Coast now. It’s a hip-hop style photo which is fitting because he’s always been into hip-hop. We were at some music festival where they had a skateboarding demo.”

Rene Vaile
Brett Chan, Auckland

“That’s in Auckland on the highest ledge at that spot and it’s way above waist height, Brett was the first to skate it and one of the only ever too. I was trying to figure out when it was by what shoes he was wearing but I think it’s late 2003.

Rene Vaile
Dan Kircher, Wellington

Rene Vaile
Dan Kircher, Hamilton

“That was at a Red Bull sponsored tour that we were on, it’s more of a portrait than a skate shot and that’s why I like it. It’s another one of those ones where you’re distancing yourself from a theoretical skate type photo and you’re pushing something different. I shoot a lot of my photos like that these days with simple lighting techniques.”

Rene Vaile
“That’s my friend Dave Chami shooting there, he was just cutting his teeth and getting the hang of it then but now he works for Transworld Skateboarding as a senior photographer. I think it relates much more closely to my work now being that I shoot a lot of snapshots of life and portraits. It’s definitely one of those moments that you can point your finger at.”

Rene Vaile

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