The briefing was short and precise “Do whatever the hell you want, but stay on budget.”
We quickly came up with the idea to shoot the cover for the Winterclash issue at the booth. We thought it would be nice for people to get a behind the scene look at the process of a cover shooting and that it would of course draw attention to the booth which brought us to the additional challenge: Making the booth skateable.
Since we knew that issue 36 would also contain the Berlin City Check we decided to build our own little Berlin quoting 2 of the most famous and recognizable Berlin sights. The Berlin Wall and the TV-Tower. Now we needed a place to sell Be-Mag clothing, magazines and of course popcorn. As Berlin is also famous for its “Spätis” and kiosks we wanted to build a small kiosk into the scenery as our point of sale. This is what our first draft looked like, and we sent it off to the Be-Mag guys, who were stunned.
The next challenge was to integrate the be-mag messageboard into the booth, so we transformed the back of the wall into a huge laptop where people could leave their messages, with colour on the wall – with berlin style.
We started collecting stuff for the booth one or two weeks before the contest and prepared the elements, painting everything white and still having no idea how to build the big skyline in the back of the booth because of safety and fire regulations our ideas were all not practicable or way beyond our budget. The same was true for the idea of building the be-mag letters on location like we did for the cover of the 3rd photo issue We had already started cutting the letters from polystyrene when we were told that we couldn’t use that material.
So we went to plan B, our speciality: IMPROVISING. Thanks to the magical powers and a bit of luck we achieved to get the huge molleton frames for the skyline for free. With the booth ready, we just needed to shoot the photo. The skater, of course, had to be based in Berlin. We chose Ben Harmanus cause he wasn’t busy skating the contest and could do the trick anytime without the risk of being injured during the competition and of course Benny is famous for his readiness to attempt stunts.
If you compare the final cover with the initial sketch I’d say we managed make our vision come reality. We were really stoked how everything worked out in the end, except of Alex nearly getting smashed by the big screen during deconstruction. He made it though and we’re all happy and we hope you like the cover as much as we do. Thanks to Jo and Endre for their help and Be-Mag for trusting us with this project!
– Tim Wolff & Alex Schneider
An interview with Benni Harmanus
Hi Benni, how are you?
I’m good, just came back from the Ignition session which was a nice coming together. I didn’t skate but played some soccer which I haven’t for so long. So funny, Horngacher and Timrobot joined.
I think you were the big attraction beside the main contest at Winterclash… How did you experience the cover shooting?
Usually I do big tricks during a comp, force myself to drop a hammer, give the best. That makes people pay attention, I love to see people enjoy my stunts plus my sponsors being happy about some proper coverage. This time it was different. I had wished no one was watching. I went to the Winterclash location the day before the big show but nothing was set for the shooting. Everybody was quite busy preparing stuff for the Saturday. That’s when I realized I would have to skate during the comp which I was scared of. I had hardly put my skates on during winter! Whatever, I was so glad and yeah…proud that Be-Mag chose me to be the cover guy. Fuck that, don’t be such a bitch and at least give it a try!
So this is how you ended up stalling the Berlin Wall?
Not the real one but of course the one Alex Schneider and Tim Robot built for the Clash. Stalling was all I could do as it was really short.
Why did it take you so many trys to lace the trick?
Oh my goodness. Don’t know where to start. There wasn’t a proper run up so I had to drop into a spine and sneak through a small corridor beneath the ramps to get enough speed to stall it. But when I came in fast the launch ramp just broke – several times – and had to be fixed. Holes all over. I thought “Damnit, everyone thinks you’re a fool” but the crowd supported me which I was so thankful for. In the end it eventually worked out.