You only have to check out the insane variety of tricks to see that snowboarding is one of the planet’s most creative sports. To help celebrate this aerial artistry, Nokia recently teamed up with Burton to challenge the world’s best visual artists to produce something amazing. The brief was simple: Use film, photography or art to show what makes snowboarding’s culture so special.
The response was incredible, with nearly a thousand entries flooding in. As you’d expect there was an especially strong showing from photographers. But in the end there could be only one photography finalist, and that honour went to Stefanie Suchy for her photograph: ”Gabby Maiden mad because there is no snow in summer” Part of her prize was to jet off to Vail, Colorado, to photograph the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championship on her Nokia Lumia 920. Now back in the Germany, we hooked up with her to find out more about her adventure, her photography and how she got on with her new smartphone.
What made you enter the #NokiaxBurton and how did you feel when you discovered you were one of the two finalists?
I got an email about the competition. I’ve always been into board sports, surfing and skateboarding, but never had a chance to check out the mountains. So when I heard about a huge snowboarding event, connected to two strong brands that have had a place in my life since I was thirteen, it just sounded like an awesome experience.
I was also really inspired by the challenge of capturing everything on a mobile phone. Nowadays, it’s really easy to become a photographer by buying an expensive DSLR camera. Shooting with a mobile phone really proves whether you have a good eye for things. So, I was really curious to see if I could capture the atmosphere and lifestyle without hiding behind a big, bossy camera.
What’s the story behind your winning entry?
My picture is of Gabby Maiden, the first professional black female snowboarder and a really fun girl with a great personality. I met her in New Orleans on a shoot with Nikita Clothing. We spent a week in the sun with their snowboard crew and, even though we were just skating because there was no snow, the girls had a distinctive lifestyle. They made me love snowboarding before I even tried it.
What do you think of Vail and the US Open?
I spent some of the best days of my life there, not only because the guys from Nokia took such good care of us, but also because I was just blown away by the atmosphere, the energy, the nature and the muscle pain! I’ve never been in the mountains before, and probably after Vail, every other mountain I go to will disappoint me.
I loved the contrast between the quiet nature and the intensity of the riders on the half pipe. I loved the hugs, chilling in the rider’s tent and the wild parties. It felt as if every emotion was mixed up with this crazy culture, and packed into the tiny village of Vail village, before being transformed into the mind-blowing jumps of the snowboarders.
What were your first impressions of the Nokia Lumia 920? Which features most impressed you and why?
I’m used to the iPhone 4S, so my first impression unpacking the Lumia 920 was that it was quite big. When I turned it on I understood why. It needs space for that amazing screen. It’s really clear and the picture looks as though it’s on the glass, not beneath it. As a very visual person, that really amazed me. I also love the layout, the graphics and the white fonts on black background. It looks like in a design magazine.
Next thing I tried out was the camera. It was quite dark and I have to say that the photos the Lumia 920 takes in low light conditions are really impressive. And in daytime even more. Even shooting pictures of fast movements was no problem. When I was tracking the snowboarders in their jumps, I didn’t have one shaky picture. It’s really is proof that mobile phones can out-do your digital camera. I’m a bit worried I won’t use my DSLR as much now, because shooting on a phone with a good camera is just so much faster, easier and on point. Plus, you always have your phone in your pocket.
Needless to say, we’re very happy to hear that Stef gave the Burton US Open, Vail and the Nokia Lumia 920 all such a big thumbs up. Now we’re looking forward to see what amazing images she produced with the world’s most innovative smartphone. If you are too, be sure to watch this space.