Lauri Täht by Nicolas Bouvy
Today let’s go back a little, just a little back in time… A time where we were smarter than our damn cell phone. T’was not the phone the smartest thing on earth. When our fingers weren’t glued to the weird, rectangular, little glass screen. When a skate-photo appeared from the surface of a film roll coated by a thin silver layer instead of instant frame on the latest device from the market. When music was listened from a plastic disk coated by aluminium, or even worse, from magnetic tape rolls. The Tallinn skate community was in big boom. Shit started to move. Haigla park was the place to go. Now we are lucky little bastards, fortunate with our new Krulli park, a place run for skaters by skaters. This comes from somewhere, the skaters in their 30s are now are giving back. And this is comin’ from what they saw in the 2000s with the Tallinn legendary Haigla park where locals could roll their wheels even in wintertime.
In that era, a 15-year-old young Lauri once borrowed a complete board from a schoolmate. Which, like in every nightmare, ended up broken. Luckily, a deal was made for a good trade of 2 cassette tapes of Cypress Hill. After that he managed to get his own board, and became a lucky owner of his very own transportation unit. So shit started to get serious for him. As a kid he was active in a more conventional sport, soccer. But something gave him the urge for more creative activity with more personal freedom and now he got its hands on it: the four-wheeled wooden plank!
So he made friends real quick with Fred Kotkas, and some time later Erki Lastik, then Robert Linna and the Number One team. In their time hitting the streets, searching for their adrenaline dose, he also discovered the world of graffiti art. Something he would compare to skateboarding, the will to break the rules, the barrier and the quest for excitement.
From around 2003, he drove himself to document the spots, the people, the action, so it became natural to take photographs. The dude has some heavy files on the Estonian scene since the 2000s till now. You for sure already saw some scene his eye captured through his good old fisheye with negative film. At the same time his good friend Antti did the filming.
He always had a great need for some good music. Even tho his best skate buddy, a real weirdo called Ats, was a punker rocker, he himself always related Hip Hop to skateboarding.
He has a great methodology in his photography, you can have a good session and he’s gonna be documenting it. Another way is after wondering around the streets, he’s gonna spot some place, snap one picture, file it and then come back later (weeks, or even months …) with a rider he imagined with a specific trick to be captured there. A kind of of a director you would say.
To him, skate-photography can be a real physical occupation, not like a soccer photographer seated behind the latest brewski advertisement panel. You’re gonna be on the edge every time. Need to climb shit? Do it. Need to be as close as possible? Do it, and first chance after the shot move your camera and/or yourself not to say good-bye to your teeth, as a full speed deck crashing into your skull ain’t gonna do you no good.
Same with filming, which he does for also quite some time now (check his latest movie from Krulli). He gonna need first the skills to follow the skater and also film it right. After that the editing can be also epic with the montage and music…
As he was a product photographer at Surfhouse in the 2000s, he met with Maik Grüner who became a good friend and his drum instructor. What could be better than one of the best drum killers as your teacher! Lauri is currently recording their next album with his band Tintura. Another string to his bow! And he has some more to give, multidisciplinary artist as he is besides photography, graffiti and music, the Tähetund radio shows are airing for 7 years on IDA radio. Give it a listen, there’s some great beats there!
And for dessert, his latest occupation is giving Skate lessons for 2nd graders, or just 8 to 18 years’ old. He’s helping kids to develop, not using an approach as a skate teacher/trainer, unlike the infamous coach Frank - more of an observant and adviser correcting kids to progress in their own way.
Always diving into details, has an urge to evolve, battle himself to be and get better, always learning, always more, more, more … now enjoy some more of his pics!