For the love of skateboarding

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Thomas Rex Kemmer

Gerald Nelson, 420 Main Ave E

Thomas Rex Kemmer got his first skateboard when he was in fifth grade. It was a Variflex Terror, with an image of a wolf face on the bottom. Kemmer says he’ll never forget that day, and the sense of adventure it gave him.

I’ve been skateboarding for about 23 years, and there’s is nothing I love more than skating. The way it feels to cruise around on a board can be matched by no other activity on this planet.

The thing I love most about skating is the challenges. Not only the mental and physical challenges, but the social challenges as well. In most cities around the country skateboarding is an illegal activity. I say activity, because skateboarding is not a sport. It’s a life style.

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Thomas Rex Kemmer

Detail of Luke Hampton, 20 Shot Sequence

Now in his mid-thirties, Kemmer has transferred his love of skateboarding to the camera, capturing fellow skaters in action. Starting tomorrow, a collection of his images, called Local Spots, will be on display at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo.

The challenge and adventure is what drives me to shoot photos of skating today. I still love to skate, but now there’s more challenge in capturing that moment in time, or that trick in history. The challenge is trying to give the images the feeling of being there, Jumping down ten stairs, or flying out of a ramp, experiencing that moment of weightlessness. It’s also about staying connected to skating. It’s not a sport; it’s a life choice. It’s something I’ll do until the body breaks. Then I’ll shoot more photos than ever.

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Thomas Rex Kemmer

Blain Herman, Eric Hansen, Anthony Nabors, Linden Devine, Luke Hampton, 1131 NP Ave

As part of the exhibition, a ramp jam (skateboarding demonstration) will be held on 7th Street North in front of the Plains Art Museum on July 16, during Fargo’s Downtown Street Fair.

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