No matter where you’re from, if you’re a skateboarder from Europe or the US or beyond, the De Paris series of books will appeal to you. This project originally started out as a book about skateboarding in Paris, but quickly expanded to cover London and Berlin as well as the surf scene of Biarritz. The DPY books provide a general portrait of skateboarding scenes, capturing moments between skateboarders and onlookers, beautiful action shots, snapshots of skate spots and city surroundings. In a nutshell, De Paris is all you need to get a taste of skateboarding through the eyes of the skateboarders and photographers who participate in this beautiful project. We spoke with editor in chief Thomas Busuttil about the growth of the project and sticking to a print-focused mentality.

Can we go back to the genesis of DeParis?

After having worked in the skateboard print press with our managing editor Stephane Borgne, we started out because in 2013, there was very few French magazines covering skateboarding. They were struggling to survive and did not necessarily integrate a large part of what is also important in skateboarding: the lifestyle. And those who played on it did so without being sharp or interesting in the rest of the aesthetics of the photos they printed.

“They were struggling to survive and did not necessarily integrate a large part of what is also important in skateboarding: the lifestyle.”

Since 2013 the DPY adventure has developed with a pan-European aspect. Paris, London, Berlin, and even surfing with Biarritz … why this direction?

We thought about this project as a 360 degree platform that could be broken down over time and in the spaces of other cities to continue covering new themes. It’s an evolutionary project, just like its artistic direction. What is interesting and comes from the culture of skateboarding is the desire to not fall back into what’s « Already Been Done »—the desire to do something that’s always a little different (even if we cannot reinvent everything every time).

You have surrounded yourself with a large network of photographers, filmmakers, creatives and other talents. Can you shed some light on the “big DPY family”?

Without them, nothing would get done. I think part of the connection that binds us is that we’re attached to beautiful things, and that few of them are happy to see their photos or fixtures on a mobile phone. We must continue to keep a material space in which we can cultivate “beautiful things”.

“what interests us is to print these photos and give them value”

And what interests us is to print these photos and give them value—to give them life on paper or in the exhibitions that we organise around the books. It’s a lot of work to highlight the work of other people, and I think photographers know that, or understand it at least. And it doesn’t often happen that someone tries to make the best of a photo you took that could have ended up in the background of a social network feed.

They understand what we want to do, and we respect the time they spend on realising each of their ideas. There is something human in these exchanges that is too often denigrated or forgotten in professional relationships.

At a time when digital seems to be more and more engulfing, how do you defend such a print project—especially for the youngest generation, the famous “digital natives”?

The future at this level is uncertain, for sure. Considering the speed at which the tools of diffusion evolve, we are all obliged to adapt. We clearly feel that the print press does not have as much influence anymore because the reflexes of information go through the smartphones, essentially. But if nobody tried to go in the direction of doing something more tactile, nothing would ever happen.

What we feel is that our direct influence may be less strong now, but there are always so many people who, as the years go by, discover, see and feel inspired by what we do. To discover this history, to create an emotion which is shared when you’re reading, to be open to individual interpretation… that’s something smartphones just can’t give you.

“This year, we’ll focus on our first five year anniversary and continue to evolve the book and concept with exhibitions and video productions.”

What are your upcoming plans?

Over the past four years, we’ve managed to add an extra city to our project per year. This year, we’ll focus on our first five year anniversary and continue to evolve the book and concept with exhibitions and video productions. We have some surprises and new collaborators from backgrounds other than photography who will take part in the books.

This article was initially published in BS29

Intro by Jérémie Garcia

Interview by Guillaume Le Goff

Photos by Maxime Verret, DPY