Remember when you found out Santa wasn’t real and life changed forever? That’s how snowboarding felt when Jeff Curtes shot this photo of Ingemar Backman in 1996. Game changer. Jeff has just released a new book Chasing Epic, and in fingering it’s pages we felt compelled to ask Jeff to explain the story behind this shot. Here is what he said.
I love how photography be a catalyst for curiosity, and an archive for the unexpected defining moments of life, or a sport in this case. This shot of Ingemar Backman’s legendary 1996 backside air taken just down the tracks from Riksgransen, Sweden in 1996 embodies that better than just about any of my snowboarding photos taken over the past twenty years, now compiled in Ammo’s new release Chasing Epic. Riksgransen was definitely a hotspot in the mid-90’s, long days, nearly endless light, and perfect trannies scattered throughout the backcountry made it a perfect Spring fling go-to for international shredders. I was there on a shoot with the Airwalk team and near the end of our shooting day in the backcountry on snowmobiles, we had heard about a small local contest happening a short walk down the train tracks west of the resort. Curiously to see what the scene was, camera in hand, I approached just as Ingemar was strapping in. Friends told me to hurry up, pull out my camera, as this was gonna be ‘it.’ With no time to consider an angle other than from where I was standing and my film counter on 32, Ingo dropped in and I pushed the button. BOOM -history made, and without a doubt one of the most defining moments in freestyle snowboarding’s now extensive history of ‘epic moments.’ Unplanned, unposed, unexpected. I love that. That’s why I keep chasing.
Chasing Epic is available at all good book stores, and online here. Here’s a sneak peek of a couple spreads from the book while you await it’s arrival in the mailbox.