A documentarian’s perspective

Whose House? Mike Sudoma’s House!

Photo by Callie Lugosi

For Winnipeg-based photographer – and former Uniter staff member – Mike Sudoma, his professional art and personal hobbies blend harmoniously as he enjoys street and concert photography, as well as skateboarding and playing guitar.

Sudoma says “I’ve been skateboarding since I was seven. It’s been one of those things that I’ve always come back to.”

He cites skate magazines as his primary source of inspiration, because “the photos are always so colourful” and “are just so amazing.”

“Before I even knew I wanted to get into photography, I used to film my friends with a camera that my parents bought for Christmas ... It was a piece of crap, but it worked out pretty good at the skatepark where I would film us in the middle of the street, like doing tricks and stuff,” he says.

“I would watch skate videos ... and basically what I would do, before I even knew anything about photography ... I would try to pause (videos) at the right moment when the trick looked the best.”

When asked about his artistic process, Sudoma says “I don’t really like to make moments. I like to capture moments around me.”

“I also like to have an easygoing personality when I’m behind the camera ... I do like to find a common ground with my subjects”

He likes to make small talk and jokes with subjects, because “when you get that rapport with somebody, it makes both of our jobs easier.”

He mentions Atiba Jefferson, Mike Pratt and Jen Doerksen, as well as Uniter photo editor Daniel Crump as photographers he admires.

In terms of a dream job, Sudoma loves the outdoors and says that “if I could work with The North Face or an outdoorsy kind of brand ... I would love to wake up in the morning and photograph rock climbing or something like that.”

“Being a photojournalist for Rolling Stone would (also) be pretty sweet, or Thrasher or a skate brand and going on tour.”

Besides skateboarding, Sudoma also loves music and plays guitar for a four-piece band called Polar.

He describes their sound as “kind of harder rock,” and says they draw inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana, and that they will open a show on Nov. 29 at the Royal Albert Arms Hotel.

He says that “I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 10, and I took lessons since I was 10 until I was 20, and then I totally quit for a while, because I wasn’t in any bands at the time.”

Because he frequently injures himself skateboarding, Sudoma finds himself playing the guitar in recovery.

Doctors “wanted me to do something with my hands for physio, and I kind of got back into guitar and doing that, because I learned how to fingerpick ... and it was really helping my wrist physio.”

Sudoma has lived in his apartment in the Exchange District for just over a year and thinks “all the old brick and all the old beams” in the mixture of heritage buildings and their newer additions are “kind of neat!”

1) The Uniter

“This is the first Uniter cover I ever shot … It was kind of funny. I was at the skatepark (at night), ... and I always take my camera and flash with me, and my buddy (here) was in a crazy colourful getup.”

2) Skate deck

“I love those old ’80s and ’70s sitcoms. When I was a kid, my parents would always watch (Married with Children) and Seinfeld.”

3) First camera

“I can show you one of my first video cameras. This is the one that got everything started … I used to film montages with it all the time.”

4) Small carvings

“This is a little Inukshuk I got when I was up in Nunavut. It was made by a local artist and made out of soapstone.”

5) Telecaster

“This is my Telecaster, a nice Fender, an American one ... so this guitar, my parents actually bought it for me, it was kind of a graduation/Christmas/birthday/last-present-ever kind of thing, and it’s just been with me for a long time.”

6) Snowy downtown

“This was from right around the time I started shooting for The Uniter ... I just went and walked around downtown and did the same lap almost every day and kind of captured things. This is one of my favourite photos I’ve captured.”

Published in Volume 74, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 14, 2019)

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