Saturday, July 11, 2009

100 Issues of Concrete Powder Magazine

Concrete Powder Magazine has documented the progress of Canadian skateboarders and snowboarders since it first hit the shelves nearly 20 years ago. During that time, the magazine has undergone numerous format changes. With ripe beginnings as a glossy newsstand publication in 1990-91, to its subsequent volume 2 "relaunch" as a free large-format newsprint magazine in 1992, the changes both then and now are quite visible.

By 1994, CPM returned to the standard size, albeit continuing production with a staple-bound newsprint finish that was sure to stain your fingers while flipping its pages. During the fall of '97 Concrete Powder returned to being a glossy-printed magazine, like that of the first volume in the early 90's.

In June 2003 the final documentation of snowboarding occurred within the pages of Concrete Powder. The staples that held the magazine together since 1992 were finally dropped in December 2006 and CPM became a perfect bound publication under the new moniker, Concrete Skateboarding. - ed

Now go back to 1990 when I was just getting into snowboarding and I found it fun to document our progression. I would bring up my dad's old Minolta AE1 and shoot my friends riding. Each day the photos would get better and better until one day when I decided to send them in to this free newsprint magazine called Concrete Powder for possible publication. It wasn't long before my first shot was published, a 3 foot backside air of Reuben Kambeitz in the ditch at Blackcomb, circa 1992.

I knew absolutely nothing about photography. Exposure, focus, and film was all brand new to me, but I knew about snowboarding and I was having a great time shooting every chance I could.

With every submission to CPM my published photo rate went up and before I knew it I was driving to the office to help with layout. That’s right, the same guy that knew nothing about photography was now helping out with art direction and layout, something I knew even less about. I would photocopy prints, cut them out and glue them to the master book. One big photo on the left, and two smaller ones on the right. Ahhh, that looks good. Ha-ha. Well honestly that's about as real as it was back then. Remember, this was before the personal computer.

So with me basically laying out the mag, or a large portion of it, I found it easy to sneak in more and more of my photography. I was shooting cheap film and processing it at the drug store, with no idea how to properly focus the camera or even what slide film was. But that didn’t matter; I was helping at the mag so I was getting my shots in there.

Now my weekend riding buddies are getting noticed and their photos needed to go to other places. They showed up in different magazines and manufacturers ads and catalogues. I think before people knew what a good photo was I was improving to stay ahead of them. And before I knew it, the guys I was shooting (Devun Walsh, Kevin Sansalone and Rob Dow) were building a large name in the snowboarding world and I was standing there with the shots, leading me to even more published photos. It wasn't long until I had shots published in Transworld Snowboarding Magazine and Snowboarder Mag, the industries largest publications.

Its crazy, I still feel like that kid back in the day, doing what I love and hoping that no one realizes I don’t have a clue what I am doing. Well, I have a clue I guess. I know what slide film is, and I know I don’t need to shoot it anymore and I know how to focus my camera but really I am that same person shooting friends and their progression in the sport all while building some more photography skills. If it wasn’t for CPM, the experience I gained from working there, and all the people I met along the way I really don’t think I would be in the position I am today. I owe a great deal of my success to Richard Neuman and everyone at CPM for all the great help I received along the way. Thanks boys, you helped build a great career for me!

My 13 CPM covers, circa 1993-2001.


  1. I remember reading in CPM about how all your camera gear was stolen...what year was that? I was so bummed out, worried I'd never see another one of your shots! I read the article over and over hoping somehow I could find some extra cash to send you in the mail. Oh how things change eh? You've come along way Scott! Your work continues to amaze me... I'm always checking in!

  2. I think that was '98. I remember talking with Leah the TWS editor at the time and she said I should have a contest and have everyone send me a dollar and that way I could buy new gear. She was joking, but I thought it was a great idea. I had some brand new snowboard gear I was going to raffle off and all anyone needed to do was send me a dollar for a chance to win. The whole thing started to snowball. Companies where donating product and lots of people were sending in a dollar. Some were sending in $20's. I think by the time it was done I raised over $6000. That was an amazing time. I still have the hundreds of letters I got in the mail.