The European Yearbook That Pays Homage to Print Photography
An exciting yearbook stylishly dubbed the ‘Parisian almanac’ is enlivening the European skate scene with its fourth volume. The DPY CityTriptych Yearbook Vol. 4 comprises 40 photographers, plus six guest artists, in a yearbook of photographs and artworks from 2020. The book features photographs from Paris, London and Berlin depicting the unique perspectives of Alex Pires, Maxime Verret and Sam Ashely, to name a few. This comprehensive visual scope can be acquired from skate shops worldwide and on De Paris Yearbook website.
Indeed skateboarding never stopped throughout the fragmented year of 2020. And the CityTriptych volumes offer a glimpse into the lives of the skateboarders and photographers who kept the fire burning in times of global malaise. The success of each volumes hinges on its ability to have both an ear to the ground and honor the printed page, both of which it does very well.
The book’s co-founder and photographer, Thomas Busuttil, speaks on the importance of the printed page and the idea of the internet as a place of pseudo-ownership where artworks are concerned. He writes, “The internet doesn’t really belong to the one who is posting on it. In this book, the photographer’s name is always there.” A story in a printed book has other functions and operates differently to how a story is told through social media. Photographs can get lost in cyberspace, or "The Photographic Limbo". The writer David Campany elegantly puts it this way, “The whole culture and industry of photography was geared, almost from the start, towards function. But we now know very well that photographs in themselves are not particularly functional”.
Social media where art is concerned is likened to what the German cultural critic Walter Benjamin once called “the optical unconscious”. Thomas Busuttil notes that he has never posted any of the photographs from the yearbook on the internet. His reasons being he only remunerates the photographers for print and exhibition features and believes photographs on the internet do not connect and resonate with him compared to print.
One enigmatic feature of the book is the simple fact many people will be wearing masks in the photographs. As a token of bygone times and public furore, this element gives the imagery a new lacquer of meaning social context. Skateboarding meets a new and strange socio-economic world — the COVID-19 lockdowns pushed artists to find new ways of working, new ways of seeing.
All spots in the yearbook are grounded in Paris, London and Berlin. Its founders wanted to promote a side of skating that is not focused on the skate-centric lifestyles of Macba culture, or perfectly skateable LA schoolyards — referencing these places as Disneyland, a metaphor for perfect weather and perfect spots.
Perhaps one of the most praise-worthy elements of the project is that Busuttil only works with brands and supporters that “have an actuality in skateboarding”. Keeping it true to form, collaborating only with the relevant brands that support skate culture wholeheartedly. They have worked with Vans, Nike, Element and Carhartt, including local brands like Haze Wheels and Nozbone.
You can purchase this edition of the yearbook here.