Magdalena Wosinska photographs the queer skate community of LA
Titled A day in the life of Cher and the queer skate community in Oakland, the series features the usual LA-fuelled light, blue skies and sweat-dripped skin. But what’s utterly refreshing is the candid placement of her subjects.
- Ayla Angelos
- 8 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
“It’s like breathing to me,” explains Magdalena Wosinska of her reasons for taking pictures. Another motivation could be her move from Poland to Arizona during her early 90s childhood years – a time when not knowing the native language proved to me somewhat alienating from those around her, with her first few years spent feeling “outcasted”. “Then I found skateboarding,” she adds, “it became my comfort and I found a family in that. I started shooting photos of all the kids I’d skate with at the age of 14; it became a part of my life from the minute I started taking pictures. I’ve felt the same way since.”
Documenting those around her, Magdalena turns a lens onto her friends from the emerging skate and music scenes, transgender skate crews and cowboys in South Central LA. Biographical and explorative, she describes her work as a “little moment captured in time that will never be repeated again in the same way – it’s very real.”
Further influences come from her desire to observe the people from her surroundings, achieved by traversing on foot and paying attention to the details that others may have missed. “Travel always makes me open my eyes a bit wider, or just going to a place I’ve never been before – even if it’s around the corner from my house,” she says. “I like a lot of mental stimulation, so new things I see excite me and this influences my work greatly.” Once her inspirations have been sparked, Magdalena will spend her varying days working on her website, editing pictures and videos, as well as making treatments, having conference calls and shooting. Rather than adhering to a strict routine, however, her creative process falls simply onto the method of taking her camera with her wherever she goes.
Although boasting an impressive roster of clients ranging from the likes of Adidas, Airbnb, Converse, Foam, AnOther, Vogue and Nylon, Magdalena always makes time for her personal endeavours. Most recently, she ventured to the coast of LA and photographed the local queer skate community. Titled A day in the life of Cher and the queer skate community in Oakland, the series came about after a road trip with a stop-off at her friend Max Schaaf’s house. And as the story goes, she spotted a skateboard with a hand-painted male and female form where underneath it spelled ‘Unity’ – a board sourced from Jeffrey Cheung who had been promoting a queer skate day in the area with a skate company called Unity Skateboards. “I was so excited to learn more, so I asked Max who I could get in touch with to possibility document this crew in the beginning stages.” That’s where Magdalena met Mae and then Cher, the protagonist of her project – “I picked them up in my ’69 Chevelle and we went and skated the home depot parking lot in Highland Park. We got tacos after and just started talking about life, the world and how people see us. I learned a lot that day from Mae and Cher, and I wanted to have their story be seen.”
A year and a half had passed and Magdalena finally made it up to Oakland with friend and filmmaker Dan Dealy, who in cohort documented Cher and her life. “After a few more days with her, seeing her transition and what she was doing in life in terms of art, music and skating, I was really inspired. I’m so grateful for making projects where you learn so much, inspire others and give someone an insight into how other people are living, plus being able to create and collaborate.”
Meandering through the series, you’ll see Magdalena’s characteristic LA-fuelled light, blue skies and sweat-dripped skin. But what’s utterly refreshing is the candid placement of her subjects, where each comes effortlessly posed within the frame, be it skateboarding or smiling into the camera. This honest approach to picture making undeniably comes from her own personal experiences. “Growing up as maybe one out of three girls that skated in the entire city of Phoenix in Arizona in the early 90’s made me stand out from the rest of that world. When I met Cher, I could relate to her in a way, as she’s one of the few trans girls at the park.”
GalleryMagdalena Wosinska: A day in the life of Cher and the queer skate community in Oakland
Magdalena Wosinska: A day in the life of Cher and the queer skate community in Oakland