Brian Savard was one of the hardest working shredders in the game for awhile and despite never having ridden for one of the big "star maker" brands in snowboarding, he still managed to become one of the biggest names in the late 90's.
This photo ran on the cover of Snowboarder Magazine in 1999 and is an all-time favourite of mine. I've shot this cliff a few times with Brian and also with Shin Campos. It's in bounds on Whistler Mountain and rarely sees much action because it's really hard to get on top of. We called it "tree cliff" because there is a tree in the landing that both Brian and Shin have hit.
In an era where we are seeing more and more weak riding in the media (tail blocks, tiny "urban cliffs", and weak backcountry booters), I miss the power of riders like Brian. Of course there are still lots of them out there, but increasingly they are pushed aside in favour of over-strobed "filler" shots. The rise of this kind of photography corresponds with the strobist culture that is prevalent with young shooters. They tend to prioritize their technical (pocket) wizardry in front of the skill of their riders. With the increase in blogs and websites as the culture-defining media outlets and their lack of buyout budget, we see lots of b and c grade photography being paraded around as legitimate. Unfortunately this trend has trickled upwards and traditional paper mags have been persuaded to believe that if a photo has enough gelled strobes lighting it, the riding can be just about anything.
I disagree. I think we are on the verge of a point where people will stop picking up magazines that continue to pass off this cheesy faux snowboarding and see it for what it is. A charade.