Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dimitri Coste: Professional Photographie Et Amateur Racing via Shoes-Up Mag

Vans OTW Advocate Dimitri Coste talks sneakers, skate, BMX, photography and more with Oliver Schmitt for the latest issue of Shoes-Up Mag. Check out the whole article (read the text or click images to enlarge) after the jump!
Words by Oliver Schmitt/Shoes Up:
Since he was a kid, Dimitri Coste is a Vans-a-holic as well as an US action sports enthusiast: MX, BMX, and skate. Now grown up and photographer, he turned his childhood addictions into his favorite photo topic. 

Vanshead and owner of one of the most beautiful collection made in USA of the planet, Dimitri Coste was awarded "the world's number 1 Vans collector" in "Story of the sole", the book published in 2006 for the 40 years of the brand. Bonus: 20 pages to present his most beautiful pairs among the 300 or so he owns. That's a true kick for this photographer/director who, between fashion series, portraits, album covers, music videos and advertising confesses preferring beauty shoots dedicated to his Vans. (see portfolio pXX). On both sides of the lens, Dimitri has a fucking media ubiquity. He is since 2010 one of the "Vans OTW Advocate", i.e. an invitation to create his own style, a Larkin, and an ambassador status which generated numerous posts and videos around the stratosphere. Next to his professional (hyper) activity, he develops "self-action photo", or how to shoot yourself in action; let me explain. 

I met Dimitri on the occasion of a mini moto race featuring the best of jet-street on a karting circuit. As I was trying as best as I could (wasn't much actually) to find a way to capture the action, he was imagining and already developing at the time a whole bunch of technical tricks to do so (pretty good on his part). "Amateur racing and professional photography", this catch phrase I saw written down on his forthcoming Vans box project (available in June) perfectly sums up his approach. Back in the days, thanks to a big brother digging BMX freestyle and to a dad addicted to motorcycles and editor in chief of Bicross magazine, lil Dimitri grew a passion for US mechanical sports, and Vans, very early. Grown up today and photographer, he didn't stop riding and permanently tries to combine his two passions: Action sports and Image. The perfect project to do so now has a name - One Size Fits All - and even an acronym: OSFA. I.e. a same original motorcycle to ride any kind of circuit; a 1967 Triumph TR6C to compete in all the cult American races from the '50s and '60s. 

And bang. For his first participation in 2010, Dimitri wins in his category the Catalina Grand Prix, a major race from the West Coast which hadn't taken place since 58. In 2011 after riding the famous salt lake for fun, he fisnishes, which is far from being easy, Pikes Peak, a hill race in the Colorado with a finish line at 4,500 meters and no mistake; no barrier but pretty nasty ravines on the 22 kilometers ascent. For Dimitri the tricky part of that kind of ride it all kick is how to avoid generating a huge frustration to his double photographer. One solution: finding a way to document himself his races. Because no, Dimitri isn't the kind to scotch tape a Go Pro on his motorcycle handlebar, but rather the kinda freak who'd imagine a shutter sytem to fix it on. He will then spend hours searching for the perfect combination between numerous riding and shooting factors, i.e. locating the right turn and the right light to put his camera stand, then the right angle and the right speed to launch his motorcycle. But self-action photo is still a work in progress, and for now, it's a friend of Dimitri's who triggers the camera while replacing the stand. 

Above riding, another major factor gets into this game and send us right back Dimitri's first love for Vans; style. What did you think? Adding up to action, with that kind of sports, there is aesthetics. Fetishisation of the Vans checkerboard and palm tree, unbridled passion for the Hutch font and the SE logo, maybe even feelings of love for Haro and JT racing pants' color codes, are just a few of the aesthetics trips haunting Dimitri since childhood. For OSFA, he was had the chance to design himself, with the help of the best, the perfect outfit imagined. White in tribute to his hero Evel Knievel, the mechanical sports Elvis. Checkerboard for the race feel, but not any checkerboard, a black and white, and red, a style clever uneven borrowed to Vans as he explained to me. For the helmet, it's a Ruby, the brand his brother Jérôme created and even appearing in Chanel ads. For the jacket and the pants, Ruby too, but custom-tailored with savoir-faire and the best leathers from the eponymous design studio. For the boots, he had a Delorean ride: a time travel towards the Italy from the '60s and the Alpinestars factory to create a unique boot with period techniques and materials. The result is a high standards racing outfit for this street aesthete, image lover.

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