Chantal Garcia – Photographer

My December 7, 2015 post was on Babes Brigade – Toronto Skater Girls – Launch Monday Girls Night.  They are going strong and I’ve met so many rad skater girls through them.  One is both a skater and photographer, Chantal Garcia.  This is what she had to say about being a skater girl and a photographer of women’s skateboarding.
SF:  How/when did you start photographing skateboarding?  Do you skateboard?   If so was it before or after you started shooting skaters?

Chantal:  I started shooting skateboarding when I began skating with the Babes Brigade Women’s Skateboarding group here in Toronto. That would have been about one year ago.
I’ve always been a photographer and a skater but since I used to skate on my own I never had an opportunity to shoot the act of skateboarding. The very first Babes Brigade meet up I brought my camera and ended up with so many great shots. From that point, I made sure to get myself a good wide angel lens and a flash and the rest is history.

@wallis.york – Ollie off the snake
SF:  How did you get involved with shooting skater girls?
Chantal:  Referencing back to Babes Brigade (which I’m sure you’ll find a lot of my answers revolve around that) is how I started shooting female skaters.   Since I mainly skate with girls 99% of my shots and videos are of the ladies of Babes Brigade.
SF:  How has girls skateboarding changed since you started shooting?
Chantal:  It’s only been one year for me, but the number of girls skating with us on the first meet up compared to the number that skate with us now has grown so much. The scene has gotten bigger for sure.
Maddy skating on the rocks
SF:  What’s your favorite type of shooting –  for example street/bowl/vert/long boarding ???
Chantal:  Street hands down. Street skating has so many different elements going on and many variables to play with. You have everything from flatland to huge gaps and everything in between.
Plus the addition of by standards watching or getting upset is really fun to capture too. The street scene is a jungle out there, there’s so many places to explore.

Maddy skateboarding in the fall when the leaves compliment the sky
SF:  What’s different about shooting skateboarding then other photography?
Chantal:  Photographing skateboarding (to me) is an amazing thrill. I don’t think it’s for everyone. Being a skater is necessary to shoot it I believe. You have to know what moment to capture, the peak of the trick, the angle that will look best and show the intensity and technicality the skater is going for. Anyone can hold their shutter button down and snap 15 photos, but its not just about that.
Anna kick flip at Ryerson Pond

SF:  Where can people see your work?
Chantal:  You can find my work on Instagram (@chantaldgarcia) my website ( and on any of the Babes Brigade media outlets (IG @babes_Brigade) (FB Babes Brigade Women’s Skateboarding)
Maybe one day soon I’ll be able to say Thrasher Magazine. (Fingers Crossed)

SF:   What do you think of all the press girls’ skateboarding is getting?  I think all press is good – but I want to be a journalist.  And every fashionista has a subscription to Vogue.  I was beyond excited when I saw Amelia shoot a prom dress campaign and then the pictures & videos got covered in magazines.   And those long board girls in the Red Hot Chili Pepper video – loved it & totally inspired me to keep skating.  But is that press bad for competitive female skateboarding?
Chantal:  I think women skateboarding in press is in anyway a good thing. But there’s a lot of controversy going on about how feminine the women are being portrayed and how feminine they actually want to be and I think that’s a topic all on its own. 

SF:  Did/do you have role models or people/organizations that continue to encourage and support your photography?
I shoot the girls in Babes Brigade because I skate with them every day and it’s a really fun thing to do. I really like how those groups I referenced before are having so much fun in their photos and in their videos.
It’s not always about getting the clip or the shot, it’s about having fun. You can see that in their social media presence and that inspires me to get out and skate, the photos are just what comes after.

SF:  Anything you want to share about why girls shooting girls skateboarding benefits the skateboarding sport & builds self-confidence & opportunities for girls.

Chantal: Women are always going to support other women and I think having a woman photographer shooting a female skater is just the ultimate combination.

Men and women often see things differently and to change the perspective to a women’s is always going to be interesting because the photo/skate industry is so male dominated. You stick two powerful women together who are passionate and driven for skateboarding and amazing things will happen.

While I was editing this post, Chantal posted this on her IG

When you meet a little dude at the skatepark and he asks you to take his photo and then tells you that you need to come back to his park sometime, but only after he gets out of daycare.

 I love the picture, what he had to say, and that Chantal took the time.
I also love that his image of skateboarding – is that everyone can skate because at his park he sees all these girls from Babes Brigade.
thanks Chantal and thanks @cameralady_ for this picture of her skateboarding – it’s always a challenge finding the photos of the photographers
below Paul Rodriguez shot by Chantal at the Primitive Demo

There is no gender bias in skateboarding. We must work harder to achieve gender equality. Start with being inclusive and giving opportunities to girls to shine.  – skateboarders for hope

 Till next time keep it stylish on & off the board.