Menu
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA
  • Senn OzawaPHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA
  • Senn OzawaPHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF SB/SENN OZAWA

Senn Ozawa: Skateboard File IV

, 2010/06/04

The current issue of Sb, The 2010 Photo Annual, bears an attention-grabbing gold reflective font and runs the musing title, “A life with a piece of wood and four wheels.” More than a quote, this phrase is enough to adequately echo the Sb editorial ethos of portraying skateboarding. Featuring a series of thought pieces on the aforementioned adage from a diverse array of contributing pros and photographers such as Taro Hirano, Deshi, Anthony Van Englen and Honma, Ozawa establishes the issue’s tone with a pensive pen in the opening editor’s note, “Today, the fascination and power of print is endangered and I would like to restate the appeal and excitement of printing photos on paper, or should I say, printing skateboards on paper.” The last issue, The New Year Issue (2010), was in much the same vain, Ozawa seems to keep the same editorial stride asking, “What are you doing with a piece of wood and four wheels? It is indeed our initial impulse and everything for us….The answer can be simply skateboarding and it can also be something with a twist.”

Senn Ozawa, co-founder and editor of Sb for nine years now, runs the magazine almost entirely by himself, flanked by photo editor Taro Hirano and their designer who takes care of layouts. Previously, Ozawa and Hirano cut their teeth with an earlier skateboard magazine called Wheel. “Back when we were doing Wheel, which only existed through the boom years of the late 90s, it got to be too much, too hectic and just had to fold with the boom, and when we decided to keep going and started up Sb, we knew that taking things a bit slower, two times a year, would be the perfect balance.” With all original content, that means no client tie-ups, Sb exudes an independent feel with a decidedly minimal layout and even though its only released twice a year, the publication maintains enough of a static presence on Tokyo’s streets, skate shops and newsstands that it stays in the minds of skaters across town.

While Sb shows content from all over the globe, and a careful balance of about sixty percent of Japanese skaters, the publications words nor perspective are completely Japanese. Foreign correspondents, or pros with computers, report from their cities and scenes about the goings-on to make sure that Tokyo, Sb and its readers are plugged in. However, with the editor-in-chief in Tokyo, Ozawa chooses to portray his local city through a variety of photographs which for the editor means plenty of nocturnal shooting and rather rarely, “do we show skate park photos, it’s mostly, if not all, street style. Sure we can all enjoy skateparks but when you go out there, it’s just the feeling. Street skating is more challenging and not everyone can skate everything; people realize they have limits and strengths on the streets.”

With the year’s best in photos from their list of select photographers, including a few by our beloved Yuri Shibuya, the current issue is more of an artistic exposé on the life of skateboarding and what skaters actually do when they are not skating. The documentary-style reportage shows everything from abandoned, hard to reach spots to skaters pushing for the distance, traveling, in contemplation, recovering from injury or exploring in search of the elusive Shangri-la. The spread continues to show composites of what touring vans really look like as well as spreads of kids enjoying skateboarding with a kind of pure fun and innocence which not only remind of skateboarding’s next crop but as well as the sheer joy of skateboarding. With enough room to fit in art works related and influenced by skateboarding, the photo annual sums up the year in a deep breathe of one hundred and sixteen pages and it’s available for just 476 Yen. “When I would go skating, I wouldn’t usually bring my wallet because it would get in the way. I always just had coins in my pocket. Making Sb available for the cost of one 500 Yen coin was important so every skater could get it wherever.”

“I think one thing that people can sense from of the photos in our pages, in particular in Tokyo, is a sense of crowdedness. Readers can see that most things in Tokyo, such as in the background of photos, are cramped or small. There just aren’t so many big and wide skate spots in Tokyo, the city is just that dense.” Rather than see that as something negative, Sb and Ozawa are energized by a self-declared ethos of firstly going spot seeking, then doing a trick and then showing it in a clear and visual way. “As far as how the photo spreads work, we either call up a skater directly and tell them we’d like to show them skating at a particular spot. We ask them if they have a particular trick in mind for this particular spot and let it simmer. If there’s a particular trick we’d like to show at a spot, then we run down a list of skaters and call one up. Word on the street can play a role too. When we hear someone is up and coming or getting hot right now, we want to know. For the Monochrome spread with Deshi, one of our photographers, Iseki, showed me a black and white photo he liked and thought we should do a monochrome feature. When we called Deshi, he was excited to do it so we the spread of black and white photos came together nicely, which made us happy since it is seldom that we run black and white photographs.”

When pressed for where he wants to take Sb next, Ozawa answered with yet another pensive editorial goal, “well we’ve never done a tour-style issue. We’re always doing a lot of Tokyo-based content, which is great and all, but I think we’d really like to hit the road with four different teams, each made up of a photographer, editor and skaters, even a mix of some Japanese and foreign skaters and then map out different tour routes and all converge again in Tokyo. It’d be great, pretty epic for us and even better if it came out like a kind of guidebook too.”

Sb is available at skateboard shops and most major book stores throughout Japan.

In Ozawa’s twelve years of publishing, the Nihon Kogakuin building in Shinjuku, has been the most-photographed location.

Tags:







and wander OUTDOOR GALLERY with PAPERSKY OPEN!

A Gallery dedicated to featuring art, photography, illu […]

Talking with Trees | PAPERSKY #62 Tokyo Tree Trek

This issue is dedicated to Tokyo’s unsung hero the tree […]

MHL × PAPERSKY 「SANDAL SOCK」

These ‘Sandal Socks’ bring function and design together […]

A flood of green, light blue, and smoky brown | Asagao 3

Tokyo’s rivers used to flood almost every year an […]

Flowers after a great fire | Asagao 2

There was nothing left after the March 1945 firebombing […]

The seeds of obsession | Asagao 1 Tokyo Morning Glory

Every year In Iriya, downtown Tokyo, the Japanese Asaga […]

Saburo Hatakeyama: Keep your back to the outside

“My name is Shonosuke Kimura, but the name I was […]

Yasushi Nishimura: Binding a tradition together everyday with string

It’s just after lunchtime on a hot day during Tok […]

Hiroko Ichige: Bento boxes, green tea, sweets and Sumo.

Six in the morning in the old part of Tokyo. The Septem […]

Life Cycles, a Tokyo bike story

If you lock your bike in the wrong place for too long i […]

BNE

BNE: The BNE Water Organization

After fifteen years as a street artist, American-roots […]

Toshiko Tomita

Toshihiko Tomita: Keirin Ambassador

“Those were the golden years of Keirin you know, you co […]

Ryue Nishizawa

Ryue Nishizawa: Travel from Places to Spaces

Architect Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966) has become one of th […]

Hitoshi Kawabuchi

Buchi: Skateboard File VII

Hirotoshi Kawabuchi is a young amateur skater living in […]

Motoyuki Shibata

Motoyuki Shibata: All Stories About Travel

I met Motoyuki Shibata several years ago in New York Ci […]

Otaki

Otaki (T-19): Skateboard File VI

“The idea for T-19 was always in my head. What I saw wh […]

Elein Fleiss

Elein Fleiss: Change Again

There comes a magazine that changes all the rules. In 1 […]

Chiori Yamamoto

Chiori Yamamoto: Japanese Soul Food

Gatemo Tabum is the neighborhood joint we all wish we l […]

Daido Moriyama

Daido Moriyama: Perspective Reach

The second in a new series taking a closer look at Japa […]

Daisuke Tanaka

Daisuke Tanaka: Skateboard File V

Skateboarding needs art as much as it needs skaters. On […]

Hitozuki

Hitozuki: 15 Years in Paint

The first day of painting was the coldest but instead o […]

Yuri Shibuya

Yuri Shibuya: Perspective Reach

The first in a new series taking a closer look at Japan […]

Akiko Mera

Akiko Mera: Oxfam Trailwalker

What’s the farthest you’ve ever walked? To the bus stop […]

Tomoko Yamane

Tomoko Yamane: Bento in Berlin

Tomoko Yamane thoughtfully recalls growing up cooking w […]

Deshi

Deshi: Skateboard File III

“I grew up in nature- my house was surrounded by it, I […]

Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders: Photography of Place

“All my films start with places- cities, deserts. But t […]

Koji Asada

Koji Asada (Lesque): Skateboard File II

For Koji Asada and the Lesque (les-ke) team, skateboard […]

Haruomi Hosono

Haruomi Hosono: Planet of sound

Haruomi Hosono’s early discography contains the band Ha […]

Taro Hirano

Taro Hirano: Skateboard File I

Taro Hirano is better known as the photo editor of skat […]

Shinobu Machida

Shinobu Machida: The Myojin Sento

The final of our three-part series on The Japanese Sent […]

Katsuhiro Kawazu

Katsuhiro Kawazu: Antiques in Nezu

There are many hidden treasures tucked away in the slee […]

Hiroshi Miura

Hiroshi Miura: Wood Philosophy

Japan has an overwhelming tradition of carpentry. It’s […]

Kiyoto Maruyama

Kiyoto Maruyama: Holy Mountain Painting

The second of our three-part series on The Japanese Sen […]

YoYo

Yoyo: Kitchen Revolution

“I started cooking when I started VEGE Shokudo” – said […]

Yuichiro Miura

Yuichiro Miura: Climbing Everest at 70

“I want to stand atop Mt. Everest when I am 70 years ol […]

Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono: Journeywoman

Yoko Ono’s public persona is one part mercurial, two pa […]

Brit Matt Rogers

Brit Matt Rogers: Keirin Dreams

Their colored helmets are a blur as they spin around th […]

Yuji Hirayama

Hirayama Yuji: Professional Free Climber

I first tried rock climbing when I was fifteen- I was o […]

Matohu: How Pottery Becomes Clothes

Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi, the design duo […]

Shusetsu Tachibana

Shusetsu Tachibana: The Last Sansuke

With wrinkled and nimble hands Shusetsu Tachibana washe […]

name
Senn Ozawa
link
website
  • Advert Slides

  • world & japan maps

    worldmap_banner_s

    japanmaps_banner_s

  • Papersky Mobile

  • soundtrack

    sound_banner

  • enalloid

  • URD Craftsman Series

    urd-craftsman-banner

  • Lee Riders

    leeriders

  • green label relaxing Green Travel

    greenlabel_shuppatsu_banner

  • Tour de Nippon

    tour-de-nippon

  • luca-mon

    lucamon-banner

  • Hike & Bike

  • globe walker OLD JAPANESE HIGHWAY

  • cyclemaps

  • PAPERSKY VIDEO

    paperskyvideos_banner

  • Tour column

    tourcolumn banner_03