Clickety Click - Norma Ibarra

Norma Ibarra is a Mexican photographer living in Vancouver. She’s deeply routed in growing the women’s skateboarding scene through her photography. With her candid film style, she documents the personal moments shared between skaters that makes you feel a cool emotional connection. Check out Issue 01 of Clickety Click, an ongoing online zine that highlights photographers we love! Also scroll down to check out the interview.

What made you move from Mexico to Vancouver? And when did that happen?

Back in 2009 I had an opportunity to take a 5-week English course in Vancouver, I didn’t plan to do it, I got a phone call on a Friday, there was a spot available to take this course, at that time I really wanted to leave Mexico, long story short I was leaving the Sunday after and I had $200 in my pocket.  To my this was a life-changing experience, my mom got this course for me as a university graduation gift. We were able to pay this on a one-year payment plan. When I arrived to Canada I had $200 dollars in my pocket I knew I wanted to stay that 5 weeks turned into a 6 months, I managed to find a job as a nanny the family I worked for became my mentors and guided me so I can make it its now been 10 years, I am lucky to have so much support.

Tell us about Vancouver, what do you love about it?

I will always be super grateful for my Vancouver skate community, it gave me a sense of belonging in a new country and it got me where I am at, my friends there are my mentors and the people I collaborate the most with. I will always be grateful for that, we also have an awesome crew there the scene is growing so much! Everyone should visit us in Vancouver always a good time.

Why do you shoot?

I love documenting memories, to me, a photograph is a little treasure, there is nothing like keeping the memories alive for prosperity, documenting skateboarding right now means I am documenting history for the future generations to see. Every person has a story and I feel honored I get to capture some of the life experiences for people. 

If you had to replace photography with something else, what would it be?

I love being creative and expressing myself, I used to do little videos I think this is something I would love to get back into. Filming, maybe re-start my Youtube channel. 

Who’s your favorite photographer? 

From back in the day I really like Inge Morath love her portraiture and street photography work. For action sports, I have a mentor I look up to his name is Margus Riga a well-known mountain biking photographer from Canada. 

What’s the Mexican skate scene like? Could you tell us more about how you’re involved?

The Mexican scene is thriving, super fun and colorful there is a lot of talent and everyone is always good vibes. I started skateboarding in Canada but in the last couple of years it’s been a goal of mine to give back to my community in Mexico, I am currently part of Ucanskate a project based in Mexico city and HMO Skate girls a group of skaters in my home town Hermosillo Sonora. Whenever I am home I like to document the scene,I love helping with the development of events, and I like to share news and knowledge about the global scene, supporting, helping and empowering the women in my communities I think there is so much inspiration everywhere and spreading the love is important. 

You mentioned that you’re going to Cuba to get involved in the skate scene there. What are you looking to get out of that trip?

I have been to Cuba 7 times, I literally felt in love with this country, there is something magical about Cuba, the colors, the vibes, the people. With the embargo, if you are a skater in Cuba the only way to get skateboards and gear is by getting them from out of the country people, There is need and I feel for that. There is an organization called Cuba Skate I like to work with them.  Through skateboarding, they operate programs in woodworking, skatepark lessons and DIY building as well as English and media courses I like to support them in the development of women focus activities. Skateboarding is a vehicle for the community and I love giving back I have my little Cuban family there. 

Why is it important to you to be a part of emerging skateboarding communities? 

It’s important to support emerging communities so we can create a global impact, I also find that working with emerging scenes and countries in need helps me stay grounded and grateful for all the things I have and never take things for granted. 

Thanks Norma, much love xx

elley norman