[interview] Kevin Schnider – In Focus – BMX Rider & Photographer

Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & PhotographerBMX and Photography is something that we love showcasing, so when we come across a BMX’er that is actually a photographer/videographer, it just excited us so much! In the case of Cape Town born and bred Kevin Schnider, who is a videographer/photographer by day and a BMX rider the rest of the time, we came across a real down to earth, rad gent! We bumped into him at the Evals Jam earlier in the year, when him and a whole bunch of the Cape Town gents made their way up for the jam. We approached him to see if he was keen for a feature and he was only but happy to do it! He will be coming up this weekend again, from our homies NOT ANOTHER ZEBRA’s, NAZ JAM 2014, taking place this Saturday at Haartebeespoort Dam. Take a look at how Kevin got started in photography and how his passion for riding is part of his soul. Hope you enjoy the interview:


Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer

Photo of Kevin riding, taken by Jason Prins

MA: Hey dude, nice to be chatting to you…Do you mind giving us a quick 101 on yourself? Tell us how you got involved in BMX, as well as with photography/videography?

Sure, Im 21 years old and I live in Cape Town. I am a film-maker and a BMX rider. I was drawn to BMX when I was about 14, mostly because I loved bicycles already and when my brothers would go skating I always preferred to ride a bike, so that progressed into a BMX bike. I started shooting when I was about 16. I was keen to capture BMX and then started to enjoy shooting all kinds of things like bands and portraits. That eventually progressed into videography, which I decided, when I was 18, that I wanted to make my career. I went to film-school for short while and got stuck in pretty deep into learning how to make movies. Now I’m a cinematographer full time and could not be happier.

MA: As a rider, you mostly do it for the amazing feeling of riding your bike (well thats most riders feelings of being on their bike), what has kept you motivated over the years to keep pushing and progressing?

As super cheesy as it sounds, I was always in love with the freedom I felt on a bike. Kind of like when you got your first car and you felt like you could do anything. I loved just being able to pedal and jump over stuff. Even now, I love bombing hills and going fast on my bike.

MA: What type of rider would you consider yourself as? 

That’s pretty tough to answer. I have never been too interested in tricks. I liked just being able to ride different obstacles. My dad built a half pipe for my brothers just before I started riding and I ended up using it the most after I started riding. So I guess quarter pipes and transitions are my favorite. I’m also more the type of rider that focuses on how a trick looks, not how bad ass the trick is.

MA: What are some of your favourite spots to ride? 

The backyard half pipe at my parents house.. and Seapoint point promenade, which is a 2min pedal from where I live now. Best weather and sunsets.

Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer

MA: We have many good friends in the scene and we do see that the scene in South Africa is relatively small. However, every time i go watch a BMX comp, the level is absolutely crazy! Riders are really pushing themselves and in doing so, pushing the scene. It is also sooooo awesome to see the top rider making road trip missions when comps are around 😀 What are your thought on the scene at the moment and how it has been growing/progressing over the years?

In SA we have always lacked in facilities, but never in talent. So many dudes have done a lot with very little. I think the scene is really growing lately. I have seen a lot of missions happening and guys are stoked on good times and riding new places. So I’m super excited.

MA: Ok, I got a bit carried away with the BMX interest… haha. Can you tell us a bit more about your photography/videography? What made you chose this as your career?

To be honest, I couldn’t do anything else. This career allows me to do everything Im passionate about. Meet new people on every shoot, experience different countries and towns and create cool imagery in-between. Im far too blessed that I get paid to do it.

MA: What are your influences in your style on shooting/filming?

I love cinema, and I think that I try put a cinematic element in everything I shoot.  I like dynamic camera movements and soft light. I am absolutely obsessed with the kind of cinematography Robert Richardson and Quinton Tarintino produce together. Although a lot of what I shoot right now can be classed as documentary style, I am always experimenting with a cinematic approach to things.

MA: It must have been a simple transformation or incorporation of BMX and Video/Photo for you hey? The toughest aspect of action photography like BMX riding, is capturing the trick at its best angle and at the perfect moment. Being a rider, you already know where that will be!!  

I guess so hey.. some situations are obvious and others leave me stumped for a few minutes while a debate camera angles with myself, haha. Some riders have looked at me after a few attempts of a trick and have been like “Kevin are you ok? I promise I wont take much longer to pull it!” meanwhile, I’m just in my own head trying to make every attempt better. The rider is working his ass off, why shouldn’t I?

Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer

MA: Coming from the Cape, one of the most beautiful area’s in our amazing country… You must not have a problem being outside riding or taking photos/videos? 😉

Completely man! I love nature and being outside. I try hike a mountain at least once a week as well. Being inside for too long makes me anxious.

MA: Where else in SA do you love going to for riding or filming?

I have always felt partial to Durban, something about that city is appealing to me. I think I need to go ride there more to realize what it is that I love about it though.

MA: You have been in the scene for many years, is there anyone that you wish to thank for what you have achieved thus far?

Definitely, some of the dudes that I rode with as a teenager: Phil Craig, Malcolm Peters and Nic Vorster. Eric Palmer for always being available to answer camera questions. Brandon Blight for working just as hard as I do on our video projects. Keith Bushby for seeing potential in us. My parents for not forcing me to play school sports, haha.. and God for blessing me with my dream job.

Kevin Schnider - In Focus - BMX Rider & Photographer

MA: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

Hopefully just traveling way more to further places, with my bike not too far away.

MA: Where can people follow you?

Im on everything as Kevin Schnider or @kevinschnider (instagram, twitter, flickr and vimeo) also on facebook as Kevin Schnider video/photo.

MA: Thanks for your time bro..

Thank you!

– A whole bunch of the gents from CT when on a riding road trio recently, sponsored by VANS, here is the teaser video, shot and edited by Kevin!!

NAZ JAM #3- Find all the info HERE

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