The snowboard photographer and journalist from Barcelona talks passion, pictures and telling stories
Interview by Anna Langer
I think I was into board sports the day I was born, I’ve been so interested in the whole lifestyle and look since I can remember. I even had a skateboard when I was little, but my mum wouldn’t let me stand on it, so for many years I was just sitting on it, going crazy around the village. But I didn’t dare to get up, if my mum had seen me she would probably have taken the board away from me.
In 1998 or so I saw this guy snowboarding during a ski trip with my family and even though I had no idea what he was doing, I knew I wanted to do it too. I was only 8 or 9 then and it took me about 2 years to convince my parents to let me rent some equipment and a snowboard teacher. And I haven’t stopped ever since but made it my lifestyle, it’s what I love the most.
I started as a goofy rider first, the school gave me a set up with the right foot in front but I kept on going the other way all the time so I went to change the board – it was obvious I was regular. And still it felt so good! I couldn’t sit for a week afterwards because my butt was so swollen from falling on it so many times, but it was the best feeling ever and I wanted to do it again.
When I was a kid I used to travel a lot with my family, but we never took pictures or taped anything. And even though I have a scientific mind and always wanted to study physics, I ended up studying journalism and had my first article published when I was 16. By that time I was also doing a few little snowboard competitions in Spain, nothing big but just to push myself and improve my riding. Doing that I realized that I was a storyteller, I like to live a story to tell it afterwards. I’ve always written a lot and after borrowing a camera in Les 2 Alpes one Summer, I got my own for my 17th birthday and since then I’ve been taking pictures all over the place.
Being a snowboard photographer isn’t the easiest job though, especially as a girl. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences already, of big shot photographers not taking a small girl with a heavy backpack seriously or guys offering a job opportunity just to get me into bed…
But I’m just so passionate that I don’t really care what other people think or do, I just go for it. There’s a group of riders who I work with a lot, they enjoy my company and every year I meet more and more. And I like their company too, we travel together and spend so much of our lives with each other that I don’t just like to base it all on work, but try to start friendships with them. We’re sharing our lives after all! And of course there are also other photographers and professionals who are truly amazing and have taught me a lot.
Since photography is a still, I think it gets a lot more valuable if you can put that photo with a text that tells you the background of it or the story behind what happened. Pictures just capture that one moment you want to remember, in action sports that’s even more evident, it’s that trick or that spot or whatever. But there is almost always a story behind it as well, that cliff you had to climb or the countless tries before you stomped that trick. That’s why I focus on taking pictures and writing.
I’d like to thank all the people who support me, my family, my friends, and all the riders and people in the industry who have worked with me. I still have a lot to learn and improve a lot, but I think if you’re passionate, you have objectives and you don’t do it for the sake of money but just because you love it, you can get very far and climb pretty high up.
Check out her pictures and read all the stories behind them on Alba’s blog albapardo.wordpress.com