One of the great pleasures in picking up a skateboarding mag is flipping immediately to the center spreads, where the full-page photos live. For a few generally uninterrupted pages, words take a backseat to moments captured by the industry's best lensmen -- magic lighting, consequential tricks and high-profile pros corralled together in places revered or undiscovered.
These galleries fulfill the need to be inspired by something greater than yourself, a reason to walk bloodied back up your local stairs or drop in one more time. But when it comes down to everyday rolling around, sometimes it's the more pedestrian images that move us.
With Instagram on every kid's omnipresent phone, the ability to freeze any frame and share it with your circle is universal. Clicking a "like" button shows not only your appreciation for a well-filtered shot, but also your engagement with a particular moment. You know that feeling.
On May 23, Asymbol and Brain Farm launched their "Why I Skate" contest, where photographers of any skill level could upload images that best answered that question. Through Wednesday, the judges -- professional photographer Tim Zimmerman, skate-film guru Ty Evans and "Art of Flight" cinematic mastermind Curt Morgan -- will continue to review the submissions to select the one photo they believe defines the essence of motivation. Fans can weigh in to determine the Voters' Choice.
"The idea came from the fact that, at Asymbol, we feel really connected to all forms of board riding," says Asymbol managing director Alex Hillinger. "Brain Farm has made a real big push into skateboarding with hiring Ty Evans, and we just launched this new piece by Tim Zimmerman of this photo of Sky Siljeg skating a fullpipe, screened onto a birch panel. They're working on a skate film, we're doing skate art, so we thought, 'Let's do a contest that looks at skate photography from an artistic standpoint -- not necessarily an editorial standpoint, but more looking at photography where it works on all levels. Where what's going on in the photos has artistic value that kind of stands on its own as a piece of art as opposed to just a photo of somebody doing a trick."
So far, more than 350 photos have been submitted -- and it's a tough crowd. The grand-prize winners (Judges' Choice and Voters' Choice) will walk away with a signed Paul Rodriguez deck, a signed Asymbol hand-made print of Zimmerman's piece and 10 limited-edition prints of their winning photo.
The gallery below highlights just 10 of some of the strongest entries to date. Click here to view all entries and vote for your favorite, or click here to submit your own image. Winners will be announced Friday.
Kim Stravers has been writing and red-lining stories for action-sports publications since the turn of the century. She joined ESPN full time as the Scene editor in 2012 after "just one winter" in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., turned into seven.