Photography by Friedjof Feye, portrait shot by Daniel Panneman.
Interview by Sander Rodenhuis.
Originally published in Essay #15.

The portrait photo of you is thirteen years old by now. What do you look like now? Would anyone recognise you these days?  
I am glad you can’t really see my face in this one, haha. I do look the same though, more or less. Obviously a little bit more wrinkled, bearded and at times there are dark circles around my eyes, but I honestly don’t mind ageing. 

That’s not a surprising statement for someone who comes across, at least to me, as a romantic or mysterious person. Would you say you fit these descriptions?  
It’s always hard to talk about yourself, but I am often considered as such type of a person. People describe my photos as soulful and idealistic or point out my passionate work ethic which I personally appreciate. Some others call me ‘phantom’ or mysterious, because I like to go on solo missions or because of my lacking social media presence. It’s true though. I am a weirdo. We all are, right? 

Daniel Panneman

Daniel Panneman looks recognisable. How has he changed over the years?  
On the one hand he hasn’t changed much at all. On the other hand he has gone through some phases of different style and outfit selections since then. I guess like most people he got inspired by things/people and also inspired others. Trickwise though he stood pretty true to his favourites.  

We see two photos of Nils Brauer in grey-ish spots with red accents. Do you have these sorts of spots categorised on your computer in order of colour, or just by name, time or skater?  
No, just by name, trick, location and so on. Just the basic info. Nils’ photos randomly came together when you asked me for a small collection of photos taken in the Benelux. Stuff like that can happen though sometimes, as I always have some side projects on my mind and I start collecting photos in a concept based folder. 

  • Jan Hoffman - blunt to fakie, Groningen
  • Tjark Thielker - ollie up, kickflip wallride, Groningen

How often have you been in Groningen? I know Dutch people that need a list with 100 reasons before I can convince them to visit our lovely city, whereas it looks like you have a connection to  this place.  
Oh. Countless times. Growing up in the north west of Germany, the lovely city of Groningen was always one of our ‘go to destinations‘ once we had our drivers licence. It wasn’t too far, but it always felt like a getaway. We gradually made friends with some locals, went to concerts and even discovered other cities. There definitely was and still is a strong connection to the city even though a few buddies moved, and I don’t live as close as I used to.  

What are other parts of the Benelux that you have a strong pull towards?  
None. Boring but honest answer. Maybe we should cross this one out, haha. 

You misspelt Bastiaan’s name, something I have done multiple times over the course of running Essay. Do you think some names are made to be misspelt?  
Sorry about that. I am normally sensitive with this kind of stuff, but yeah some things are definitely harder to remember than others. I  am also personally affected by it, because my names’ spelling is very similar to Friedhof which means graveyard in German. Autocorrect doesn’t help either, haha.  

Bastiaan van Zadelhoff - no-comply tailslide, Amsterdam

For a while, everyone thought Robian Fifield’s fs 5-0 at the tunnel quarter spot was the heaviest thing done there. I’ve also seen Wouter Molenaar do a backside boneless. Was the blunt fakie by Jan Hoffman ever released in a video?  
Interesting. I love those kinds of background stories. Not that I care much about ABDs, but in fact Jan did a backside boneless as well. No, I don’t think there is footage of him doing it, but Jan can pull off tricks like that pretty easily. He is naturally gifted.  

The Jan photo is also the most digital looking photo out of the bunch. What’s the ratio of film/digital these days for you? Do you even shoot much?  
I mostly shoot digital photos these days, also because prices for film material were skyrocketing the last couple of years. For specific projects though I still keep using my analog cameras. In general I just love to try out different equipment and styles.

I still take skate photos, but due to different reasons I don’t shoot as much as I used to. Still I am happy every time I go out and shoot and eventually get rewarded with an article or something similar.  

Is that due to the nature of your work these days? What are you up to now?  
Yes and no. Times have changed on both sides. Whereas my photography is mostly based on concepts or specific projects lately, I used to just go and shoot whatever I liked when I was younger. In the first place because I had more time, but also because there was much more demand in the skate related print media. Don’t get me wrong. I still like to be out there in the streets with everyone, but I was obviously more motivated when magazines would drop a new issue every month or bimonthly at least. But I don’t want to cry after the good old days here, quite the contrary: I am happy for any variation and I am thankful that I can still work creatively in a field that means the world to me.

  • Nils Brauer - wallride, Brussels
  • Nils Brauer - polejam, Amsterdam