Nigel Sylvester – Mad Transit Audacity Clip

This is a look into what went into making this photo of Nigel Sylvester hopping over the subway tracks in NYC. Now, I’m sure some of you may have seen the photo buzzing around the interweb already but may not know that this photo was taken first. With ABD’s being so vehemently frowned upon these days, it caused quite a controversy yesterday and I had to do some digging and find out what the deal was. Turns out, the skate photo, taken by Allen Ying, is in the 3rd installment of an independent skateboard magazine called 43 – it’s super hip (and cool). It’s shot on film, is pretty lackluster and kinda looks like it came out of a disposable camera. (Note the photo from the NY mag was probably taken with a cellphone and I have yet to see Issue 3 in person.) The photo of Nigel, is way more dialed and unfortunately had to happen after “the original”. What do you think about 13th Witness’ photo?

‘Mad Transit Audacity’ featuring Nigel will be released in it’s entirety on June 13th.

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27 thoughts on “Nigel Sylvester – Mad Transit Audacity Clip

  1. its an amazing tribute to what was already done. as long as it hasn't been claimed as nbd I think they did a great thing. If you look at it in the right light everything has already been done, going back and doing it with a better process and better technology makes it unique. Before a skateboarder did it someone has probably done it by just jumping across, maybe there isn't a picture of it but that doesn't mean it hasn't already been done.

  2. never really thought about it until seeing this stuff, but I'm surprised more stuff hasn't been done over the subway like that.

  3. Just because it's skateboard and is in a "hip" magazine, doesn't mean you have to talk down on it or start a debate. The photo you posted is a photo of a print, probably shot with a phone. Hence why the quality is so shit. Google Allen Ying and see for yourself. Dude has got to be one of the best skateboard photographers out there. None of his photos are "lackluster" as you described.

    Nigel's photo is dialed, sure. Is it better, depends what you're into. Both are great. If Nigel's photo would have been shot first and published in The Albion and a couple months later that skate photo showed up on the interweb I'm sure it would have caused the same controversy.

    Does it even matter that a skater did it first? No. Photo wise, yes to a certain extent. Nigel's photo is pretty much a replica but on bmx, even if I'm sure it wasn't their intention. If a rider films a trick at the same spot that's already been done, people talk shit. Now a skater does it first, and it's okay that a rider shoots the same photo? Or just because you consider it a better photograph?

    There's a world outside of bmx. Get over it.

    • I agree with you mostly. What pisses me off is how uninformed a lot of people in this conversation are. A photo with higher production values IS NOT NECESSARILY a better image. The images are two different takes on young males participating in mischievous subcultures and testing the boundaries of sub urban spaces. If I were to adopt the standpoint of a purist, I would say that the Ying's version, along with Colin Reads accompanying video is the more successful version, but I can see there is merit in Nigel's take on things too.

      Although this is just a glimpse into the video, one can assume that Nigel's video will be put through the same (successful) filter as his other projects. This filter is taking a key raw concept of BMX/the lifestyle and re presenting/(aestheticising it) to make it into a simple malleable piece for the mainstream consumer. I have no problem with this and it is what makes Nigel so successful, he is a great ambassador for BMX as he doesn't exploit it and still manages to get it out to the masses.

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and this is just mine. I own the 'hip' publication 43, because it is fucking amazing. Train skating or in this case BMX, is important because it is a way of renewing the pure and rebellious aspect of these extreme sports that has been lost in a world of athleticism that dominants the two spots (don't get me wrong I'm not talking shit on the insane progression currently sweeping through BMX). The original version is by far the best in my opinion because it is just raw documentation of these acts, whereas I speculate Nigel's version is constructed to be consumed.

      It is a bit dumb that I went to the effort to write about this in such detail, but I guess having opinions is the whole reason the comments section exists.

    • Another one of the bloggers made some changes to my original post, so some things may have been read a little differently than I intended. Regardless Nigel's photo definitely had the 'homage' intention I'd say. A rider filming a trick that's already been done at the same spot is really hard to compare to an artistic photo. Also there are way too many reasons that it's NOT okay to do.

  4. I already started a full debate over this on instagram:

    This is all actually incredibly embarrassing to the bmx community, and not good for our image honestly.

    Yeah, the original image was shot on film, and what you're mostly seeing is cell phone shots of the printed zine.

    The photo industry in new york is all skateboarders, and no one is happy about the bite.

    • i think what is more offensive is the photograph is nearly the same, just swapped a skater for a biker. Much respect to nigel and the original skater and photographer.

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