Russell Houghten is a filmmaker and photographer whose work in the realm of skateboarding has made him one of the modern masters in his field. Russell has a special knack for capturing skateboarding's essence with an interesting mix of timelapse shots, high-speed follow-camera work, and unique angles, and a vision only a skateboarder can offer to the viewer. Always looking for a creative view of skating, Houghten recently debuted his latest project, which is a literal play on the ever-constant "fisheye" view of skateboarding. Only this time, you see what skateboarding would look like through the eyes of a fish with help of a GoPro camera, a couple of clear vases, and a half dozen goldfish.
"I wanted to do something different that hasn’t been done with a GoPro and skateboarding," explains Houghten. "I had just moved and had a few clear vases in my kitchen; I filled them up with water and put the GoPro inside the vase. The distortion looked really cool, so my next step was getting some fish."
Russell gathered three separate fish bowls and two GoPro cameras for the shoot. Two of the bowls would be used as the camera bowls, and the other would be used as the fish transporter.
Houghten set out on to the streets of Los Angeles, looking for spots that would be easy to access while carrying three large bowls of water as well as provide some level of privacy, mainly to stay under the radar of the LAPD, who are always on the lookout for skateboarders. "We ended up getting kicked out by cops at one spot," laughs Houghten. "It was pretty funny breaking down the fish bowl camera in front of them."
Police and access to good spots were only part of the challenge in getting this unique view of skateboarding. "The hardest thing was getting the fish to swim around and not congregate at the bottom of the fish bowl," says Houghten. "Also keeping the water clean was pretty difficult. I had no idea how the angled square fishbowl would work and it was definitely my favorite. I really liked the distortion and split screen it created."
The outcome of Houghten's fishy brainstorm is a never-before-seen view of skateboarding that not only excited the filmmaker, but also the subjects of the clip, pro skateboarders Jordan Taylor, Jimmy Carlin, Jon Goemann, and PJ Ladd. "They were all pretty into it," says Houghten. "Everyone was super helpful and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone involved. This project was definitely a team effort with transporting the fish and all the set-up time."
Now that the fish in Russell's clip are celebrities in the skate world, one must ask, where are they now? "Jordan Taylor, who was one of the main skaters in the video, kept a few as pet," laughs Houghten. "The rest I released in a pond by my house. No fish were harmed in the making of the video, which I was really happy about."
More action sports stories on GrindTV