For our very first 1/1000 interview of the year is a premiere! For the first time, we got to chat with a photographer from Mexico – the multitalented Ruben aka gotSerif? He is a graphic designer, web developer & photographer from Mexicali, Baja California living in San Bernardino, California. His photographer name is a direct result of this multifaceted artist. It is a leftover from a clothing company Ruben wanted to start using “font drawing” prints – creating shapes using letters. And because this typography nerd loves the slanted shape of Serif fonts (check out what that is on Wikipedia) the name “gotSerif?” stuck. But “gotSerif?” is more than just a name. When viewing Ruben’s work you might notice that his action shots are often slanted. This is a direct reference to Serif Fonts and to Ruben’s aesthetics and his mission to capture, as he describes it: “the beauty of this sport”.
Love was also what led him to discover his passion for roller derby photography when his wife Priscila (Scila) a skater for Baja Roller Derby got involved in the sport and suggested he get involved himself and rekindle his interest in digital photography. And – because Mom and Pops are the best – a newly gifted Canon Crop Sensor Camera allowed him to do just that, which led him back to his photography passion, where he is now “(…)enjoying what I do, trying to share every moment and feeling one found when watching this amazing sport.”
Wow, you have put a lot of thought into your brand! Your concept with the slanted scenes is highly interesting. Can you show us your favourite image and explain the concept more closely? Could you even name a typeface this image reminds you of?
Yes, here is an example of a picture that I shot at last year’s National Championships in Mexico where Baja Roller Derby won first place. My favourite font type is Times News Roman, and this is because it is the font I use the most to design stuff in general. I love the old fashion elegant slant, which to my taste, has never been out of trend, it’s a font that never tires your eyes, which is what I try to capture in my photography. I want to show movement, moments that will reflect action, passion, and enthusiasm.
You are our very first photographer from Mexico. Do you also primarily photograph games in Mexico?
Yes, I do. I have been supporting my hometown teams, Baja Roller Derby (WFTDA team) and Wheels of Mayhem (MRDA team) and have taken pictures during the regular Mexican season, during Mexican Playoffs, and National Championships in Mexico.
Can you tell us more about the roller derby scene in Mexico? What is it like? Living in the US, you surely have also seen what the scene in the US is like, maybe even photographed a few games. How do you think these two scenes differ?
Visiting different leagues in Mexico – to me – feels like going to visit your family. You always get a warm welcome from everybody, yes, there are rivalries, but those are reserved for the track. I cannot really put my finger on the differences between both places, besides the location. One example might be that in Mexico when you travel to a different city, you get to see a cultural variety, different people and customs or foods, which I find is one of the best parts when travelling to a new city that you have never been to. In the US on the other hand, while the people are also always caring and it feels like visiting family and you also get to try new dishes – food-wise, I feel that the cities I have visited always have a similar feel as other US cities I have visited. But I love both countries and they will always feel like home to me while I continue to photograph this amazing sport.
What types of teams primarily end up in front of your lens?
Any team can end up in front of my lens. I have captured adult teams of all genders and also junior teams. I don’t have a certain preference, I try to capture as much as I can from all flavours and great things I found inside and outside of the track.
What do you want the roller derby world to understand about roller derby photographers?
We, photographers, get almost the same feeling as the teams, the rush of adrenaline when we approach and settle in at the track. We immerse ourselves fully and pretty much-become part of every part of the roller derby world. In my opinion, the best feeling ever when I am visiting a league or a tournament, is when everyone treats you as part of a big family, even though they have just met you. When you are given the feeling that they care about you, respect what you do, and are being honest. That is one of the best parts of being a photographer.