the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

September 30, 2009

SUK RIP

Filed under: photography, snow — danmilner @ 5:52 pm

Well what a ride that was! Any one familiar with the snowboard titles that punctuate dreary British winters will by now know of the demise of Snowboard UK magazine at the end of last winter. While the jury is still out as to the real reason behind the magazines downfall, it comes as a blow to the British snowboarder and the Brit’ snow scene.

Snowboard UK was started in 1992 as the first British Snowboard title, back when the Daily Mail was running headlines about the young sport including “Ban this Killer craze!”. My own involvement in SUK began by illustrating a cartoon feature for them, something that started as a single strip and became a monthly full page colour strip. That was about 1994. After a meandering path through the many challenges of shooting photos, a season sharing a house with Brit pro-riders Johnny Barr and James Stentiford and another touring the resorts of the USA to shoot with riders like Bryan Iguchi, I landed the position of Senior Photographer for SUK. I always saw the potential of SUK as a quality mainstream snowboard mag and working with seven (yep, seven) different editors and more designers than you can shake a pantone colour chart at, together we pushed for content that offered a healthy spread of creative, non-patronising features that could be appreciated by the average ‘ride around and jump off anything’ British rider. It was a roller coaster ride that’s for sure.

While the title’s demise is just another chapter in the too-often-repeated saga of leaving photographers’ invoices unpaid, the opportunities the role of Senior Photographer afforded me were priceless. I accompanied Barr and Stentiford on the first British media trip to Alaska in 1999, riding with Tom Burt and the late Tommy Brunner. Under the guise of SUK we pioneered trips to new destinations including Kashmir in 2004, when the absence of a lift to the top of the mountain left us to hike the 1200 m climb to the 4100 m summit, usually alongside Indian army conscripts while packing bags of curry for lunch. Greenland, Russia, the first Iceland Park Project, Turkey, Pakistan and further trips to Alaska and Canada (shooting with the legendary Craig Kelly) were all nailed in our quest to introduce our readers to new destinations and possibilities for expanding their snowboard horizons. By now my passport was starting to read like a National Geographic contents page, topped off most recently by the month I spent in Alaska camping out on a glacier with only splitboards and the likes of Travis Rice and Jeremy Jones for company.

While a blow, it’s no real surprise that SUK has disappeared; it’s been a while in the making, with a small industry adamant that it couldn’t support three UK titles, a publisher that was reticent to put anything back into the industry, and a struggling skeleton in–house editorial staff of one. That said, the co-existence of three UK snowboard magazines survived for a decade, even alongside the international titles like Transworld, Onboard, Method and Snowboarder on WHS shelves. In SUK’s absence of course, the British rider scene will inevitably suffer, with less potential for representation of British sponsored riders in the media. But that’s the price that has to be paid I guess. And as for me. Well, from the ashes a mighty phoenix doth rise. Or something like that.

Now freelancing again, you’ll be seeing my snow work decorating the pages of both White Lines and Document magazine in the UK and Transworld in the USA this winter. So I’d like to say a big thankyou to everyone, industry-folk and reader alike, who supported the editorial team at SUK as we steered the good ship SS SUK through stormy waters, for appreciating what we were trying to do. And of course thanks to Eddie Spearing who saw the potential I must have exhibited early on and cultivated it by making me senior photographer ten years ago. Thanks. It’s been a blast.

In case you missed any.. here is a snapshot of the 47 covers I shot for SUK starting with the first capturing Johnny Barr in Alaska 1999 and ending with the talented Mr Mike Basich, a great rider who became a good friend, Jan 2009.

 

Forty-seven: count em!

Forty-seven: count em!

In case you’re curious, heres the who’s who of the the cover riders:

Johnny Barr, Alaska. Markku Koski, Air&style.Sean Lake, Chamonix, Gumby, Alaska. Bryan Iguchi, Jackson Hole. Tim Zimmerman, WA. Matthieu Crepel, Tignes. Tapio Kuusakoski, Sweden. Mike Basich, Chamonix. Tom Eldridge, Chamonix. Danny Wheeler, Laax. Marcus Chapman, Saas fee. James Stentiford, Axamer Lizum. Thomas Ligonnet, Mt Baker. Jonathen Weaver, Tignes. Thomas Ligonnet, Stevens Pass. Kai Arne Lien, NZ. Nelson Pratt, Iceland. Matt Burt, Spain. wan Wallace, Chamonix. Jamie Baker, St Moritz. Johno Verity, Greenland. Johno Verity, Livigno. Ryan davis, Val d’Isere. Nelson Pratt, France. Scott McMorris, Austria. Scott McMorris, Switzerland. Bruno rivoire, Pakistan. Jess Venables, Russia. Ryan Davis, France. Eric Themel, Alaska. Johno Verity, Area 241 USA. Dan Wakeham, 2 alpes. James Stentiford, Alaska. Nelson Pratt, Mammoth. Gumby, Brighton. James Stentiford, Chamonix. Johno Verity, Iceland. Dom Harington, 2 Alpes. Graham McVoy, Tignes. Eric Themel, Turkey. Bruno Rivore, Canada. Jonas Emery, Macedonia. Jeremy Jones, Jackson Hole. Mike Basich, Tahoe.

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2 Comments »

  1. Great stuff Dan – I was also sorry to see SUK die – but like you say – I think it was a while in the making and the publishers did not help.

    Still – I will miss the mag.

    I wrote an ode to SUK based on my experiecnes of contributing as a writer: http://www.snowsphere.com/special-features/suk-rip-an-ode-to-snowboard-uk-magazine

    Looking forward to seeing your shots in other mags – it was most likely your pics in the early SUKs that inspired my snowboarding adventures to begin.

    cheers

    Comment by SnowSphere.com — October 21, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    • Thanks Sam. The demise of SUK was indeed in the pipeline for a little while. A victim of the digital era? I dont think so. SUK’s demise came about due to lack of investment in the snowboard “scene” by the publisher, completely against the grain of the huge amounts of effort the staff put in to making the magazine appropriate for the regular British snowboarder. Lack of investment equals loss of advertising revenue. Perhaps it was its time, who knows. Of course I’m saddened by its loss, but from the ashes do phoenix rise… I’m investing more time in other worthy titles. Watch this space.

      Comment by danmilner — October 29, 2009 @ 8:24 pm


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