Meet The Mcleans
I often wonder about the generation of young people growing up in this ever changing world. I see more and more childeren and teenagers sat on their phones/tablets mindlessly involved in their own little world whilst the real world passes them by. Whats worse is the amount of young parents giving their children them just to shut them up and keep them entertained whilst they themselves check the social media. I remember when I was young, I had hobbies like most of us did. I couldn’t wait to get back from school and head outside on my bike meet up with my mates and ride till it got dark.
But I know this is not the case for a lot of families, families like the Mcleans.
Eve first contacted me and asked if I would photograph her son Schaeffer who is a very talented skateboarder, it’s hard to think he is only 11 years old; just about the time I had just picked up skateboarding.
He had just landed a big stair set in town so we needed to get a shot of him Ollieing down them, plus hit up a few more spots that Schaeffer skates. Right from the start of the shoot Schaeffer had been trying to ollie down these steps but it wasn’t long till he had grazed and bruised the palm of his hands, Eve wiped them off, gave him a fist bump and shouted some encouragement to him. Now I don’t know many mothers giving their children fist bumps but it was pretty cool to see.
After meeting up to photograph Schaeffer a couple more times I got an insight into how much Eve does with him, telling me tales of driving around Europe to new skateparks, sleeping in the car and hitting up skate competitions so that Schaeffer can skate new spots, meet his idols and see the world. Now I know my mum drove me and my mates to a few skateparks but this was pure devotion to Schaeffer and his love of skateboarding, Eve not only runs his social media accounts but also makes countless video edits of Schaeffer skating all over Europe; in fact as I write this post Eve, Schaeffer and Levanna are in Europe on another trip.
One day I recieved a text from Eve, she had seen a skate competition to meet Tony Hawk, now most people I know grew up playing and watching Tony Hawk, it’s probably every skaters dream to meet him. So Eve suggested we go out for a shoot to get some more pictures to put into the competition… well we were one of a few lucky winners that got to meet Tony Hawk. That was a good day!
Eve had mentioned that I should photograph her daughter Levanna, she was becoming pretty famous from a few videos that, again, Eve had shot and edited of Levanna dancing to Northern Soul. I had no idea at this point who Levanna Mclean was but it seemed plenty of people did, she had danced with Pharrell Williams at the Brits, on the front cover of a recent Northern Soul Album and regularly travels to the soul clubs of London…Eve, it seems, has two talented children.
We decided to meet in a tunnel for Levanna’s shoot, we wanted to create something different, more urban than soul. With only her phone’s speakers providing the infectious grooves, Levenna totally lost her self and carried on dancing for a solid 2 ½ hours whilst I shot away. You could just see she just loved to dance.
It’s amazing to come across a talented and passionate family like the Mcleans. I remember being told as a kid that jumping around on your bike isn’t going to get you far and for the most part it wont – here’s the but, you can’t strip your children’s passions down just because it might not earn them enough money or stop them from getting those ever so precious grades. The best encouragement is to show your children that they can do/be anything they want in life, if they work hard at their dream then there’s a high chance of reaching it. In later life having turned my hand to many jobs, it still comes down to one thing…passion.
Words & photos by Jim Cossey