Is there anywhere better suited to skateboarding than the City of Angels? Photographer Franck Bohbot recently spent a glorious evening shooting with famed skater Sierra Prescott around LA, all during that picture-perfect period when the sun has just the right golden hue for images.
The series, Silver Lake, can be seen on two levels. For one, it's a gorgeous and heartful tribute to Los Angeles, where Franck works and lives, with its blue skies, the distinctive architecture, and the ageing, tarnished glamour of its local neighbourhoods.
But even if you have no connection to the City of Angels yourself, these dramatic images will still evoke strong feelings in anyone who's ever felt young, free, and just that little bit reckless. Indeed, with the laid-back vibes and effortlessly romantic feels they summon.
Most notably, there seems to be a very '70s vibe to the series. Was that deliberate, we wondered? "Yes, a little bit," replies Franck. "When I plan a photoshoot with an athlete, model, artist, etc., I art-direct in advance, to match the colour, place, style and mood and make it unique. I really feel like a time traveller. Photography helps me to create something from the past, present and future. I love it when a photo tells a story or evokes emotion, whether people like it or not."
To create the kind of story he was looking for, Franck – whose clients include The New York Times, New York Magazine, Wired, National Geographic, Vogue and the Louvre – worked on Silver Lake with a Leica SL and a Canon EOS R5. "We shot during the afternoon and late afternoon," he explains. "Not really 'Golden Hour'; maybe the beginning of the 'Magic Hour' on some few shots."
It always helps to have a good relationship with your model, and in this series, Franck worked with Sierra Prescott, a skateboarder model, artist and personal friend. Communications were doubtless aided by the fact that Sierra is an established photographer herself. Specializing in lifestyle, fashion, portraits, food, cocktails, sports, kids and teens, she's also the author of the book Shredders: Girls Who Skate.
But perhaps the deepest relationship Franck has is with the city itself.
"I love the light, the architecture; almost every little corner from the gritty to the modern buildings," says the artist, who was born in a suburb of Paris in 1980 and moved to New York City in 2013. "I believe that LA and the areas around it are an interesting background for creatives because of the diversity of places. A natural studio with beach, urban, mountains, desert, and diverse architecture. I like Googie [a type of futurist architecture that originated in 1930s California], mid-century, contemporary and minimal architecture, and the way the light shapes them."
You might want to start with Forever Young, which again evokes the warm and rosy nostalgia of lost summers, but this time in the context of French water parks. Or perhaps Dear Winter, which features atmospheric, misty images of Manhattan buried under a blanket of snow, devoid of crowds during lockdown.