Ray Barbee and Element
ABOUT THE VIDEO
“A Wider View” explores the legacy of Ray Barbee and his fascination with analog photography. This short film examines Ray’s passions and influencers through archival footage, an experimental printing process, and a series of interviews key to Ray’s journey including appearances by iconic creatives Sean Cliver, Brian Gaberman, Thomas Campbell and Joe Brook.
Filmed and Edited by Mark Stewart and Cole Mathews. Special thanks for additional contributions from Kurt Hayashi, Greg Hunt and Vans.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
When Ray Barbee's first ever pro model skateboard hit the shelves in the late eighties, two legends were born. The "Ragdoll" graphic was created by Sean Cliver, and also served as his first. Ray's admiration flourished for his unique style, innovative tricks and infectious smile; while Sean Cliver went on to shock the world with some of the most iconic skateboard graphics of all time. These two living legends have reunited for an Element collection with a new take on the timeless art now synonymous their contributions to the rise of modern street skating.
ABOUT THE EMULSION SKATEBOARD BY BARBEE, GABERMAN & CLIVER
Ray thought it would be fun to attempt to print a photograph onto a skateboard using traditional darkroom methods. I knew we could pull it off, and I also knew it would be a long, most likely painful road to getting it right. We began with the blank canvas of a white painted skateboard. We painstakingly applied multiple coats of liquid sensitized silver gelatin emulsion to the board which involved tons of trial and error to get a nice even coating. The gelatin needs to be warm to remain fluid, so as soon as it hits something cold it solidifies up and makes a big chunky mess. We coated the skateboard multiple times to attempt a better image quality and in between coatings we would have to wait patiently for the layer to dry. Hours and hours of not being able to leave the light safe darkroom while this stuff dried. We were basically trying to turn a skateboard into a sheet of light sensitive photographic paper. We tried, we failed, we laughed, we cried, I stressed, we tried again...and so on until we made good progress and began to see the test results we were looking for. Two separate visits to my darkroom, about 100 test pieces, and five trial and error days later, we began to see results that made Ray happy. It was time to go for it and try to print the full image onto a board. We put on our gas masks, mixed up 10 gallons of photo chemicals, put them into large concrete mixing troughs to accommodate the size of a skateboard and went for it. We exposed the skateboard under a photo enlarger which projects the image onto the board, then we ran the skateboard through 3 different baths of chemicals to develop it. In the end, it all worked out and we managed six respectable photographic prints onto skateboards doing it the old fashioned way. Sure we could have just had the photo digitally put onto the board, but where's the fun in that. Embrace the struggle!
-Brian Gaberman, Element Advocate