It's been a crazy summer with lots of anticipation and amazing success in the photography world as well as in my crew's dancing career. This summer, I haven't been shooting as frequently as I was in the springtime. Before, I was putting a massive amount of work out for portfolio building reasons. Now, my focus is less on quantity and more on an emphasis on how I feel. Unlike everyone's thoughts on how great it can be as a photographer in NYC, I just couldn't find inspiration to shoot great work there. Simply, I just needed a breath of fresh air. If my heart isn’t in my work, it will show. For that reason, my crew, 5 Crew Dynasty and I found ourselves flying out to Europe twice this summer. I needed a new environment to shoot amazing work. My crew wanted to experience the largest bboy festival in the world: the Notorious IBE.
First stop: Amsterdam. I found the whole city of Amsterdam to be a museum.
Enjoying the city so much, I didn't take too many photographs. However, here is an amazing shot of the sun illuminating these sprinklers at this park. On a technical standpoint, this image is too heavily underexposed. For me, it isn't about the equipment - photography is just a medium to express your vision. Regardless, I think I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time to capture this moment.
After a brief four days, we moved towards Heerlan, Netherlands to visit the Notorious IBE. If there is any event that a bboy should know about, it would be this one. They literally hosted this festival throughout the whole downtown section of Heerlan. With 59 different events going on in only 3 days, it is practically impossible to participate in every program.
Day 1 - Opening day. Originally, I was supposed to have a talk show about my perspectives as a dancer who recently moved towards the direction of a dance photographer. I was ready to share my story with the rest of the world. However, the schedule messed up due to a little confusion. Oh well. There are plenty of opportunities around. My crew member, Gravity tops the day off with a win in the concrete battle.
Day 2 – I spent most of my day going around and conversing with various European bboys as well as natives from the town. I honestly think my main motive for dance and photography is a great excuse to travel and learn about other cultures. I realized I never went to another foreign place without a mission such as a jam, a friend’s wedding, or any other large event. There were several main events for the night – it would be practically impossible to visit each one.
My crew and I entered the qualifier for the IBE crew battle with no thoughts in mind. We battled against a crew named Action Man from Russia. They are insanely good, combining clever uses of flexibility with their dancing. A lot of the times, by gut feeling, you know whether or not you passed through prelims by how people react to your movements. I think we got through.
As the night dawned, Gravity wins the 7 to Smoke.
Day 3 – Now it starts to get serious as my crew starts to sharpen up our routines and solo rounds in preparation for the crew battle. With most of us starting our bboy paths in 2005, IBE is one of the events my whole crew aimed to visit. To create this huge of an impact is simply a plus.
I’m juggling between my duties as a dancer and my urges to create amazing art. I am happy for encountering a bboy by the name of Blonde from Korea / Australia. He is world famous for his insanely difficult combinations that combine powermoves with footwork, freezes, and toprock. I wanted to visually depict his signature “walking airflares.”
After seven photographs and about six hours, bouncing between Lightroom and Photoshop, here is the final photograph.
Unfortunately, this year, IBE did not have its famous large-scale “country vs country” battle set up. It was replaced by a 7-to-Smoke Allstar battle with the previous 7 winners including Gravity from yesterday. Issei from Japan sweeps the competition.
Issei's reaction as he is declared winner of the IBE 7 to Smoke Allstars.
The crew battle is a prelim for UK Championships. We ended up taking on, a Russian Bgirl Crew called Women Attack in the semi finals and Soul Mavericks for the finals. With such a short bracket, besides one routine, I didn’t exactly get much of a chance to go out and do my solo rounds. So I’m going to have to admit, my crew won this qualifier, I did the absolute minimum.
Trying to focus on two different talents is very difficult. I am an avid believer that jack-of-all-trades are masters at none. On this trip, instead of excelling at dance, I excelled in creating visual art through my photographs.
Lastly, check out the Notorious IBE Fanpage on Facebook!
Big thanks to Paul Van Dal, Tyrone Van Der Meer, and Thijn Van Der Linden for the hospitality.
Next article – my trip to the UK B-boy Championships.