Eric Dressen • FS grind • Mechelen DIY, Belgium

Johan Van Esbroeck

Belgium Photographer & Skate Dad

January 2022

Where are you from?
Belgium, where I live in Malderen. A small place in between the City’ s of Antwerp and Brussels. I live there with my wife Anja and our two sons Jens & Jelle, 19 year old twins.

Assuming you started off skateboarding at what point did you move to photography and why?
The 1973 in my IG name relates to my year of birth, so I am one of the ‘older’ men in the SB-scene. Started Skating in the late 80’s, with a few interruptions still riding, maybe more than ever these days. Have been interested in photography since the early 90’s, even followed an education in analog photography a few years. Spend hours in the ‘darkroom’ back then. Knowing that I can’t keep skating like I do now, I started taking more pictures of skating. So that I can always keep in touch with skating in the longer term.

Is there one skateshot you wish you had taken?
‘The Push’ Tod Swank, shot by J. Grant Brittain from the cover of Transworld magazine issue June 1987. Such an iconic photo, love the composition with the big black shadow part of the bridge and the body posture of the skater.

Proudest moment as a photographer?
Shot I made of Eric Dressen doing a frontside grind at the Mechelen DIY skatepark. I met Eric there when he was on the European SantaCruz tour ‘Till the end and beyond’ in 2019. One of my favorite skaters in the 80’s and still is. Had a nice chat with him and he even did the grind a few times over so I got the right shot, thank you for that Eric. He still follows me on IG, he always likes and sometimes even comments my pictures.

Most embarrassing?
Commented an Andrecht as an Invert in one of my IG posts.

What gear are you shooting with?
Nikon D7100. Tokina 10mm Fisheye, Sigma Sports 70-200 2.8, Nikon 50mm 1.8, Sigma 17-70. Light: Godox ad200 on tripod or out of hand, Nissin di700.

Is there any post-production you do? If so how far do you go?
All of my photo’s I shoot Raw, what means I always have to edit them in Lightroom. I only work with Lightroom, I don’t even have Photoshop. The editing I do is the necessary post-processing to make the photos ready for publication no more no less.

What is on your wishlist?
Cover of Thrasher Magazine? No seriously now, an exhibition of a selection of my best photos looks like something to me. Digital photos are OK but they look best when printed in a larger format and on the wall. I think it would be great to share and discuss my photos with family and friends, over a beer and maybe even a skate session. Maybe I should work on it.

Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
J. Grant Brittain. Living legend when it comes to skate photography. Always loved his style then and now. It would be great to get some tips and tricks from the master himself.