While working for the charity Skatepal, that designs and builds skate parks in Palestine, London-based photographer Sam Dearden took time to shoot the skaters and skate clubs that are popular in the country. “It’s easy to go to the West Bank and make images of the conflict that are hard to look at,” says Sam. “I wanted to provide a different point of view, one with a bit of positivity.”
Skateboards and equipment are hard to come by in the country,and most skaters have to borrow equipment from clubs and charities to practise. Most of Sam’s photos are taken in the early evening, as it was often too hot and too bright to shoot, or skate, during the day. The golden light that is apparent throughout gives the series a sense of serenity, something that Sam was conscious of. “A lot of my work is very quiet, although the photos are journalistic, I wanted to avoid the traditional ways the area is documented,” he says. “I wanted to show how beautiful it was.”
Sam plans to return to Palestine later this year to take more pictures and plans to produce a book. He hopes that showing a different side to the country to the one that is so commonly seen in the news will change perceptions about life in the country. “The attitudes are far more peaceful than you see in the news,” he says.