(Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1952 - )
Gelatin silver print
10 1/4 x 12 1/4 in. (26.2 x 31.2 cm)
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Gift of Edward J. Osowski in honor of Barbara Tannenbaum
Vincent Cianni began photographing rollerbladers in the Latino enclaves of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1994. Over the next decade, he documented nearly every facet of these young skaters’ lives, illustrating their personal struggles with relationships, family life, and finding trouble-free places to skate, and the broader struggles within their community with drugs, crime, and poverty. Cianni also captured moments of joy and intimacy, in addition to shots of in-line skating, the sport that helped them transcend the daily challenges of inner-city life. The entire series, titled We Skate Hardcore, was collected into a book in 2004. The images were accompanied by handwritten commentary from the skaters and snippets from interviews conducted by the photographer. The resulting portrait is of a remarkably optimistic group of young men and women, climbing precariously out of the safety of adolescence, and doing the best they can to shrug off not only outside preconceptions about who they are and what they are capable of, but also their own doubts, fears and daily temptations.