NORTH SKATEBOARD MAGAZINE
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Introduction Each issue seems to creep up faster and faster, I was definitely panicking about not having enough content for issue 05. It’s always on the last morning before the print deadline that I get everything together. Not even the first or second fake deadlines I give myself or contributors seem to work. I always had this problem with school. I’d leave every bit of homework till the night before, I’d stress, panic, and work myself up everytime, but would always get it done. I would then promise myself that it would never happen again, I’d get all my work done early next time and avoid all the stress. Of course it never happened, and the panic and stress would set in again and again. Maybe I’m too old to change my ways now, maybe I just work better under pressure? Eitherway I was panicking and stressing about the deadline, but sure enough, I got it done! Thanks to everyone who helped and contributed on this issue, especially all the photographers. Knowing that there are enough of us out there still shooting on film to keep North film based is amazing. Keep up the good work!
Graham Tait Editor/Photographer
Cover: George Horler - Ollie I got in touch with George to shoot an idea I had for a photo. It wasn’t working out the way I had planned it in my head so I decided to scrap it. George told me about a bench he’d seen a couple of weeks before and wanted to skate, it was close by so we went to check it out. I found the spot I wanted to shoot it from, and without really thinking too much about it shot a few extra frames to see how it would look pieced together later. It worked out pretty well, 3 panoramic photos placed together to make 1 photo, and the cover. - Graham Tait
Contents Daniel Nicholas Panoramics Still Shooting on Film Dylan Rieder John Bradford
I N S TA : @ L A K A I LT D F B : L A K A I LT D WEB: LAKAI.COM
THE COLLECTION: GRIFFIN / MJ / PICO
STEVIE PEREZ / BS SMITH
Daniel Nicholas Photography by Graham Tait Interview by Stephen Cox
How are things Daniel?
But you still stuck at the skating.
Not too bad, chilling just now, man.
Totally. Over the years I’ve seen several people come and go and all that. But it’s always been alright. There are people who will have stopped skating but remain in the skate community, which is better.
Let’s start off with your life growing up and how you started skating? Oh this’ll be a tricky one [laughs]. It’s funny and embarrassing. I remember seeing people outside of school skating and thinking, “that’s pretty fuckin’ cool”. Then there was a video with a monkey entering the X-Games or something and I also got the video, Subject to Change. After that I was hooked. Started skating from then onwards. What was the scene like in Edinburgh compared to what it’s like now? There was no skatepark when I first started. It was just going up to Bristo Square everyday during the summer. The scene was much bigger back then too. Really? Yeah, you couldn’t get a seat anywhere at Bristo. It was full of people. The skating bits were just out of bounds. People everywhere like myself just sat around. I remember going and meeting people my age. This is when I was 9 or something like that. I kept speaking to everyone and then it was every weekend from then onwards. Today I still skate with the same people.
How do you feel about the plans for Bristo Square? It’s bad, obviously. The skate park is open but it’s not about the park. I grew up skating there. It will be bad to see it go. I think if there was something similar along the lines of Save Southbank it could help. Fergus Wood is currently making a Bristo Square documentary and he’s putting it into a competition. Hopefully he wins it so he gets some funding to make a proper decent edit. I think he’s going along the lines of what Hold Tight Henry did, just show people that Bristo has been a big part of Edinburgh’s history. It seems to be the most well known UK spot after Southbank. Totally. It’s been there forever. Now that I’ve started skating with a lot of the older guys that skated Bristo growing up, they always tell me mad stories about that place and that. What are you doing with yourself to pay the rent at the minute? I’ve been at ASDA for 3 years now. So you started there around the age of 18. How did the 21st birthday go over the weekend?
Why is the scene smaller now? Just recovered now. I’m not too sure to be honest because more spots kept coming up and the skatepark was built. I think it was just people getting to that age. When I was still quite young and people were hitting 18, they were going out partying and whatnot. I remember they got me into drinking dead young.
What did you get up to? Started drinking at about 10 in the morning, got pretty pissed in the house then we tried to go bowling but the woman was being a bit of a cow so when went and played pool across the road and got pretty hammered there too. We ended up getting booted out; this was only about 3 in the afternoon as well. We went back to the flat and continued drinking, I blacked out for about 2 days, woke up feeling pretty minging. [Laughs]. How do you compare Edinburgh to other Scottish cities for skating? Edinburgh is rad, there’s a big mix of a scene. Glasgow has a tight scene and so does Aberdeen. They’re my favourite. I’ve a few mates in Fife too, which is always a good shout. I would go to Glasgow on filming missions or Aberdeen during the winter to stay at somebody’s house. What are the positives of skating Edinburgh for you? There are spots pretty much everywhere. I’ve realised that there is a spot literally every fourth street or something like that. There’s something to skate everywhere and there’s stuff in the centre of town. There are secret gems. Security can be a pain but if you want to get something done, you’ll be able to with some persistence. You never get too much hassle anymore. When I started skating I remember more people getting hassle and whatnot. I haven’t got into any trouble in Edinburgh for fucking years to be honest. It’s good during the festival too, just skating in town and there are hundreds of fit birds.
When did you first get sponsored by Focus? Oh god, I can’t remember. I remember the day I got sponsored though actually. We got two photos. I’ve been going to Focus since I first started. They asked if I wanted to ride for them pretty much and I was overwhelmed because I’ve always respected Focus entirely. I got a t-shirt there and then a few pals went to Glasgow. It was a really good session and I was really hyped. How important is the shop to the scene in Edinburgh? How do they support you? Focus hook me up with stuff and nice prices. They’ll help out with money if you need to get a train somewhere for the new video that’s coming up. Nice people and a good cup of tea too. There’s always good music in the shop. They’ve always been there. They tried to open up a shop out at the skatepark when it first opened. I thought that was amazing. It benefitted a lot of people when the first park opened, especially with all the new faces. They got a warm welcome into skateboarding. You’d go and possibly have a beer depending on who was working. They’ve always been amazing. How did the Harvest crew start up? It started about 3 years ago. Kieron [Forbes] just mentioned it one day and he’s always been committed to doing it, him and has Jamie [Johnson]. I’ve known them both since I was about 10 too. I’ve always skated with them. It just made sense. They picked out some people that they really thought were doing something and the team is really rad. I skate with them all and there are always some good sessions, outside of skating as well.
I saw on their website that your mum used to bring you to skate spots? Fuck’s sake [laughs]. My mum was really overprotective, she did take me to Bristo when I was 9 and sit there when I would roll around. She would get a coffee and a newspaper and just enjoy the afternoon. She kept doing that for several skate spots too. Everyone knew who she was and I got this reputation. [Laughs]. What other talented skaters are inspiring you right now from Edinburgh? My current flatmate David Ready, he does a lot of unique stuff. He figured out how to do that back three no comply from a Trent McClung trick tip. He mastered them instantly. He’s a really nice guy as well, super sound. Kerr McLachlan, he knows how to get people riled up for a session and stuff. I used to just skate Bristo so didn’t have an understanding for tranny and stuff. All of a sudden this guy pops out of nowhere skating bowls and stuff. Kerr and Matty Welsh really opened my eyes to that. It’s always good going on street missions with them too. Graham said he had to bully you into that backside tailslide kickflip out.
Bs Tailslide Flip Out
Aye he did. I wanted to go there to shoot a photo at some point. I’ve skated it once before and since it’s bang on Princes Street; it’s really hard to get something on it. I didn’t think I could do that trick on that because I’ve never tried it on something like that. Anytime I’ve done that trick it’s always taken forever to do but that was one of the easier ones to be honest. I don’t want to sound big headed but that one felt a lot more natural. He wanted me to do all sorts of weird shit on it as well but I got it done and dusted and that was that. I had to go back and do it again as well to film it with Zander [Ritchie].
I watched your part in Towns and Cities. I remember that. How did it all start up for you and how long did it take to film that part? It was when I was still new to filming with Zander. He was always about during the Winter to film a little Christmas edit or something like that. He just started hanging around in Edinburgh a lot more, he would come down when the skatepark opened and go street skating He managed to get the right amount of people with the right amount of footage. He had the building blocks for a skate edit and just kept going. I think it was a year and a half, two years maybe. A lot of things have changed since that video came out. I think it got forgotten about pretty quickly. How come? I think there were only 50 DVDs then after it seemed borderline non-existent until it was put on Vimeo a few years later. The video showed a lot of good skating from Scotland and should have got more recognition because it’s actually a rad wee video. Apart from my song which I didn’t choose [laughs]. What’s Zander like to work with? No comment. He’s a good man. Bit hard at times, but he’s a good man.
So all your footage is going towards the next Focus video, Weather Permitting. The majority. Everything with Zander is going towards the next Focus video but Paul McConnach from Glasgow asked me to film a part with him. Me, Tom Shimmin and Ross Zajac from somewhere in England are filming parts for a web video I think. That’s given me an extra project to get away from the skatepark and hit the streets. When is the Focus video out? I think if it all goes to plan, which is at the moment, then the start of November. How has your skating changed from your last part to this one? I don’t know. I think I’ve just loosened my trucks a little bit more and I’m skating faster. I think I’ve just realised what I can skate so I’m just enjoying what I’m skating. I’m trying to get bigger shit done and dusted but I’m still not up for jumping down a stupid amount of stairs. In what ways do you think about how you’re progressing or is it something that don’t you get too wrapped up in? I don’t think about it at all. I think during Winter I’ll skate more indoors at the park. I’ll try and learn more tranny tricks that I can to a DIY spot or something like that.
How seriously do you take it all? It depends. I do enjoy going street skating and being really productive but I also enjoy going to the skatepark or getting pretty pissed. It’s fifty fifty I think. You can never take the fun out of it. What goals do you have with skateboarding? None at all really. I don’t plan to be a high profile skateboarder because it’ll never happen. I just want to skate the world, go on holidays. That would be ideal but I have to pick my holidays wisely now that I’m working and stuff like that. I want to save up and eventually go on a little cycling trip in Europe with my flatmates and other friends and stuff. Just keep skating and never stop. What have some of the best trips you’ve been on? Barcelona was amazing. We were just skating and drinking really hard. That was a fun holiday. We were making the effort to go to all the different spots but also being Scottish in Spain. It was a boys holiday mixed with the skating. It was epic. We all went to watch the pro contest in Copenhagen. It’s like a mini skate festival. It was really intense to watch. We went on some filming missions out there, there’s some stuff for the Focus video I’m pretty hyped on. What are the plans for the rest of the year?
You seem to love your tech skating. I’ve always been a fan. I think it’s the way I grew up skating Bristo. You learn how to do a manual kick flip out then you learn how to flip into it too. I’ve always been fascinated with that shit to be honest. I always get motivated by watching some really ridiculous tech skaters, even though you can’t fully relate to it. It’s mental seeing what people are getting up to, what’s going down these days.
I’ve got two new flatmates moving in so it would be good to see them get comfortable and chill out with them. I’ve not got anymore booked until March so I can’t really go on anymore holidays until then. I’m going to try and film as much as possible with Zander and Paul, and take more photos with Tait if he’s up for it. I want to get a lot of work done this winter so I can save up for next year.
JORDAN TRAHAN • 5BNY VIDEO IN PROGRESS
Panoramics by Graham Tait
Keith Allan Bs Flip
Charlie Myatt Switch Crook
Dave Snaddon Bs Tailslide
Chris Nwufoh Bs Melon
George Horler Bs 50-50
Owen Godbert Fs Bluntslide
Jack McCallum Feeble Grind
Scott Anderson Fs 50-50
Miles Kondracki Crook
Danny Jack 50-50
still shooting on film
Tony Manfre Ollie
Marius Syvanen 5.0
Sam Lind Bs Lipslide
Austin Fyfe Kickflip
Joe O’Donnell Gap to Lipslide
Denis Lynn Bs Melon
Gabriel Engelke Boneless
Karsten Kleppan Wallride
Paul M. Roura
Austyn Gillette Bs Talislide
Alex Olson Kickflip
Sebastian Strom Ollie
Bs 180 Nosegrind
Matty Hunt Ollie
Shawn Connelly Fs Crook
Axel Cruysberghs Bs Smith
Flo Becker Fs Lipslide
Killian Heuberger Bs Melon
Santiago Echavarria Wallride
Joshua Watts Fs Noseslide
Jack McCallum Wallie Backlip
Mike Arnold Bs Noseblunt Slide
Leo Romero Fs Nosegrind
Stephen Malet Ollie Up Fs Wallride
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Dylan Rieder Photography by Paul M. Roura Words by William Strobeck
Last Year I was filming for “Cherry”, the video I made for Supreme. A few of those days Paul came out with us and happened to have his camera with him. I didn’t even know that he had shot these photos, which is what love about them. It was great to have him out there with us, it showed Photography by Kazuhiro Terauchi to the footage I had filmed, they me a different perspective Interview Graham Tait tell theirbyown story.
Backside Flip This day was super hot out. I remember it being 89 degrees because I filmed this billboard with the temperature on it. We ended up pushing from Supreme to the car wash up to 46th Street and the Westside Highway, which is far in that heat. Dylan had tried this trick when he was in town a month before, came close, but didnâ€™t get it. So this was us going back to it.This photo came out really fantastic, with the light leak marks and the catch of the trick. Paul cropped it right and got a good shot. He landed it just as the cops pulled up to kick us out, but you donâ€™t see that in the photo.
Back Smith There was a crew of us down there that day. Dylan was just rolling with us and did that back smith for fun. He made it look good and Paul caught it at the perfect time with no flash. I like this photo because it looks like itâ€™s shot on expired film.
Switch Flip I remember when Paul sent me this photo. I was like ‘wow’, I didn’t know Paul was that good of a photographer. I told him that he should pursue photography over filming, which is what he’s know for. I was phsyced on the timing of this one too. I remember Dylan just trying to switch Flip the table for fun, he landed it then we went on to film that whole line that was in “Cherry” after it. One shot, kill style. This photo should’ve been the poster for the video.
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John Bradford Photography by John Bradford Interview by Stephen Cox
Congratulations on becoming a dad John, how are you feeling about it? I’m feeling good. My wife and I still look at each other sometimes and say, “do we really have a kid?” It’s such a dramatic change, but in the best way possible. I’m sure every parent can agree that it’s a change that you have to rebuild your life around. Great to hear. Can you tell us about where you’re from, your life growing up and how you first started skating? I grew up in Southern California. South Orange County to be exact. I remember the area wasn’t that developed at the time, and we’d ride our bikes in the hills that are now all track homes. I played a little baseball. Hated it. I played soccer and was more down for that. Then one Christmas I randomly asked for a skateboard, probably because the kids up the street had them and I got one. It was a Vision Gator. I must have been about 11. It was florescent green and had green and pink Kryptonic Wheels. At the time you could get “custom” grip tape jobs at the local skate shop and it was pretty crazy. A year or so passed, then at my next birthday when I was getting more and more into skating, I ended up getting a Lance Mountain board, which I consider to be my first real board as a skater. Right around then some friends and I rented Animal Chin and Streets on Fire from the video store and we were hooked on skating, both as something to do and as a culture.
When did photography come into the picture for you? Way later. I took a photo class in high school as an elective. My friend Sebastian Kim was a little older and was away at photography school, he sent me a package of some prints he had made in school and they blew me away. There was one he took of Ronnie Bertino, who was our hometown hero, at Huntington Beach High School. I couldn’t believe how rad it was. It had a little motion blur to it and he used a flash, which was lightyears ahead of whatever they were teaching me in my “Intro to Photography” class. The other prints he sent weren’t of skating, but they were amazing to me as well. It kind of turned on a light for me. I hadn’t seen photography as something I could do before that, or maybe it was that I didn’t know what I would do with it if I had. It wasn’t on my radar at all. Around the same time Sebastian had a photo run as an ad in the skate mags. It was a Gouge Clothing ad, if you’re old enough to remember that company. It wasn’t even an ambition of mine yet, but I just remember thinking it was all really cool. I know you majored in Digital Imaging, how important was this in contributing to the skills required for some of the jobs you had to do over the years? It came into play as digital has become more of a necessity. But then again so much has changed since I was in school that it was only the groundwork for what I learned later, and continue to learn as technology and workflows evolve. Despite the name of my major, photography school was still mostly “conventional” or film based when I went. In fact I was lucky enough to have caught the tail end of that I think. I spent most of my time in the dark room. I don’t know if photo students now know what “dip and dunk” or “photoflow” is.
Is formal education necessary to shoot photos or become involved in imaging?
When did you realise you could start making a living or that you wanted to peruse photography in that way?
Absolutely not. You just need to dive into it. I heard somewhere that school crams about 10 years worth of experience into 3 years, and after going to school I’d have to agree with it. You’re totally immersed in it, which is important to do if you want to pursue something as your career, but school isn’t the only way to totally immerse yourself into something. Before I went I had totally reached the limit of what school was going to do for me with any subject I wasn’t interested in. That’s why I chose photography school, because I was interested in it. If you’re not motivated, college is a waste of time, not to mention money in my eyes. But if you are motivated, I think it’s the best thing for you.
Well, having gone to school, photography was a career goal from the start. But I really didn’t know if skateboarding was going to work out and wasn’t even really planning on it until it did. I knew if I were going to try, it would have to be as soon as I was out of school. There wasn’t going to be any coming back to skating when I was any older. I think I had shot my first couple ads, which were Johnny Layton’s first Toy Machine ads and when I got paid for them I had a little money in my pocket. I spent it on a ticket to Philadelphia and went to stay with Mark Brandsetter. I got some photos of Pete Eldridge, Kerry Getz and Mike Maldonado and came back to California with my first legit batch of photos to send to Skateboarder. I got on a Toy Machine trip and a trip that Tosh Townend put together and those were my first couple articles. A defining moment was when I got arrested with Tony Silva and Matt Allen at a school in Fontana one night and all my gear got confiscated. It took over a month and a lawyer to get my camera back. Right when I did though, I went for it harder than ever and that’s when I started to actually make some sort of a stable living doing what I was doing. Soon after that I got on retainer for Skateboarder and the rest just fell into place.
What was the first photo you had published in a magazine? It was a Mike Vallely portrait in Skateboarder, when he used to have a column where he’d answer letters from kids who’d write in. I had been sending in photos to Aaron Meza, who was the editor at the time, and I ran into him right after the photo ran. He apologized that they couldn’t use the majority of photos I had been sending in, but I stopped him and thanked him for running the one he did. I told him that it totally made my day. My first skate photo was of Terrell Robinson in Big Brother, in what might have been their last issue. It was a big 360 flip out in the valley.
Nassim Guammaz Fs Feeble
How did you become the senior photographer for Skateboarder?
Do you agree with Christian?
Persistence. The title wasn’t that big of a deal, in fact we were all “Senior Photographers” but for me it corresponded with getting on salary which brought health insurance with it. That was something that I hadn’t had in a long time. That was just a result of being there and climbing the ladder for a few years. I was on retainer, and Ben Colen went to Girl so I took his spot. I really needed it though. It was hard to get an apartment or any sort of credit without a “job” and I needed health insurance. I just asked and asked and asked, then pointed out that I was breaking my retainer every month. Eventually I got an official job.
Internet videos definitely have the kids’ attention now, that’s undeniable. But look at Thrasher, they still appear to be a very successful print magazine. You can dissect it and notice their web presence and what can only be seen as a profitable apparel line, since every kid has a Thrasher shirt - including my 6 month old! But however they put together a successful situation, they are still a magazine, which goes out every month. I think it takes the right mixture of elements. That continues to evolve, but if you can spin all the plates right it’s still possible to keep kids coming back. I think more than kids not caring though, it’s that companies are diverting their ad money to different places. And maybe add into the mix that they can get tens of thousands of Instagram followers to see an ad for free, so why pay thousands so 10,000 kids will see it in a magazine? I personally disagree with that logic and think the more places you see an ad, the more it gets into someone’s head. But I see where money is tight it might be justifiable now to not run an ad in multiple magazines. The result is that you’re not going to have multiple magazines for very long if nobody is running ads.
I spoke to Christian Senrud about Skateboarder and he said he felt that what has happened might be a sign that kids don’t care about magazines anymore or the idea that magazines can go out every month is done. Also that the obvious problem is that there isn’t a whole lot you can’t find on the internet. How did you find out about the turn of events? As far as Skateboarder’s turn of events, I think the writing was on the wall for a while. We’d do big articles and interviews with companies and when the issue was about to come out, they’d pull their ads due to budget cuts. The magazine was losing money and we all knew it. You want to hear a funny story? I had gone in to finally set up my 401K retirement plan which I had put off for years, and I walked out of the conference room where a retirement specialist helped me set up an account and straight into Jaime Owens’ office, who was my editor, and that’s when I got laid off. I still get statements for my 401K, and it turns out I had about $20 in it before my position was officially terminated. I laugh every time I open up a statement. Anyway, they cut most of the staff in early 2012, put out a couple digital issues and the doors officially closed in August of that year.
How did the larger format of Skateboarder’s cover also affect the way you approached shooting photos? We could shoot horizontal. It had the gate fold so the cover was in essence a spread. It had been that way with the old format for a year or two, but when we went big it was like getting the best of both worlds, a huge spread and a cover.
Blue Headley Switch Smith
What equipment are you currently using and how has your setup changed over the years? I’m a pack rat, so I don’t sell off my old equipment for the new like some guys do. So I have a working AE1, and an EOS pro body, and a lot of gadgets in between. I still love the 6x6 film format, and I don’t go long without just shooting some 35mm black and white film. With all the advancements over the years, most of my favourite things I’ve shot remain the low tech black and white shot on an old Canon AE1. How surprised would people be at how much work goes into images after shooting? I came up shooting film and I think the most valuable part of my experience as digital has become the norm, is that when shooting film your goal is to get the end result, or as close as you can get to it in camera. So my goal is still to shoot it and when it’s digital, aside from some RAW processing and sharpening, I’m not doing much to my images in the computer. There is a lot you can do to enhance after shooting but also a lot you can do to ruin the image. Less is more, right?
Right. Was glad to find out you were involved with On and 411VM. Can you tell us about some of your memories of that? How did you become involved? I randomly took a multimedia class while in school where I learned the program After Effects because I wanted to edit my photos with video for a project. Basically I learned to do pans of images like you see on the History Channel or whatever. I was visiting my friend Kirk Dianda while he was working on the first issue of ON one weekend and I showed him the project I was working on. He and Dag Yngvesson, who was in the office at the time looked at each other and then back at me, and said that what I was doing was exactly what they needed help with. Editing the old skate images and doing pans of them to edit into the stories. Basically busy work to them. It was being in the right place at the right time. I never thought I’d get work doing that kind of stuff, but I was lucky enough to be asked to help with what I think was one of the best things going on in skateboarding at that moment. It was so sick to be a fly on the wall as those guys put together some of those stories. Like listening to Natas [Kaupas] recount in his own words about his career. We went and filmed Wade Speyer drive his dump truck. We filmed an interview with Clyde Singleton where he refused to take off his Mexican wrestling mask. Sitting in the middle of the desert while Dag Yngvesson filmed the time-lapse intros. Hanging out with Wing Ko and asking him about working on early World videos. All priceless memories that I’ll cherish forever.
Greyson Fletcher Noseblunt
Danny Brady Tailslide
Who has mentored or influenced your photography over the years?
Which skateboarders have you been fond of shooting over the years and why?
Early on it was Chris Ortiz. He probably doesn’t even remember, but I’d end up going on sessions in the late nineties and he was the first skate photographer I ever got to watch do his thing. Kirk was filming for 411 at the time and again, I was a fly on the wall for some crazy sessions. He filmed everyone. But I was watching Ortiz as much as I was watching the people skating. If it wasn’t for that time period, I probably wouldn’t have ended up where I am now. I’ve always loved Daniel Harold Sturt’s photography, and it was a huge influence on me. Spike Jonze was a huge influence, from seeing his photos to the Blind Video, to where he took his career after that. At some point I realized how gnarly [Craig] Stecyk was. [Brian] Gaberman and Barton and [Mike] O’ Meally are some pinnacle guys of the last 10 or 15 years. It’s hard not to be influenced by them. [Ed] Templeton’s street photography, and being on trips with him watching him shoot, that’s huge.
I’ve made so many great friends through doing this that I’ve got to say all of them. Seriously, I think it runs in the bloodstream that most skaters are incredibly genuine. I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing and to have the friends I have.
Do you feel more inspired or less by skateboarding photography today? I guess less, just because over the years I’ve figured out my own way of doing things. That’s not to say I don’t love a good skate photo though. To me there is nothing better. Who’s currently killing the photography game right now? Sam Muller.
How do you encourage skateboarders in the process of getting a trick? Depends who it is. Some guys don’t like chatter. Some guys need it. I give a lot of “you got this” and “right here, next try” and if they react negatively I stop. I just try to be supportive. If I hear “three more tries” I’ll respond with “no, one more try because you’re doing it right now.” What is [Leo] Romero like to shoot? When he puts his board down, you’ve got to hurry up and get where you need to be because he doesn’t wait for any sort of set up. He just goes for it, and his stuff is so big that he’s got to land it right away because a human body can’t take bailing some of the stuff he does for very long. He takes his skating seriously and he’s not there to waste any time, so as someone who’s trying to document what he’s doing, you can’t waste any time either.
That 50-50 up the handrail was ridiculous.
What have been your favourite trips and articles you have shot?
We were in Denver once and we looked at this one rail, and he started looking at it from the bottom. Then he starts to push at it from the bottom and it was clear he was trying to go up it. The setup didn’t work, there was a curb at the bottom and he couldn’t set up right, but that was the first time I got the impression he wanted to go up a rail. That Denver trip was the beginnings of the first Skateboarder interview I shot with him, so I knew I wanted to get an up rail for it if at all possible. His filmer at the time and I started brainstorming on what rails would be good for it, and I thought of the West LA rail that Owen Wilson skates in Yeah Right! I knew there was a fence at the bottom so it would depend on that, but when we checked it out Leo was able to get around it and get a good line at the rail. I wrote in the caption, but I still think it’s a funny story, that there was this bum there talking crazy. He had stories about other skaters coming there and he was trying to explain tricks that he clearly didn’t know how to explain. So when Leo grinded up the rail, I pictured him telling the next group of skaters that someone grinded the other way up the rail, and that there was no way anyone would believe him. They would think that he was just crazy. Because it was crazy. That whole interview is probably the craziest batch of photos I have ever had the privilege of shooting for a feature.
I had one called “Operation Handle Situation” which was a trip to Australia that fell through, but we already had our tickets so Cole Mathews and I pulled different people in and made it a big homie trip and saved it. That’s one of my favourites both because of how fun it was and how it turned out. Everyone killed it. We camped, saved our money for a couple nice hotels along the way, and crashed with some really cool people. Slash and Nuge were on it, Austyn Gillette too. Raymond Molinar and Danny Brady and Snowy. Jeremy Corea jumped in, Nick Garcia and Benny Fairfax. The whole crew was a random assemblage, but that’s what made it so fun. Toy Machine trips have always been epic. Traveling with Ed and listening to his stories on long van drives is amazing. He also drags the willing out to museums and landmarks so it’s not all just skating. Sometimes you can miss out on where you are when you are just skating the whole time. For the non-photo heads reading this, what sort of photography techniques or concepts have you adopted for photos to get a particular look or shot that people might not realise? Composition is key. That’s what I always start with. Sometimes you can get caught up with all the gear and flashes and lenses, not to mention all the editing in Photoshop, but it all boils down to the basics. With skating I always try and put the skater where I want him, I make sure the spot is composed a certain way so you can see what he’s doing and read the “story”. It’s all how you lay it out.
Let’s finish up by hearing about your website, the Daily Film Blog. It’s been something that I’ve been really too busy to do anything with to tell you the truth. I want to start it back up and see where it goes, and make it more about my life than something I’m doing for a magazine like I was before, but for now its kind of on hold. Hopefully I can get it going soon, but right now I’ve got too many diapers to change.
Photography by Atiba Jefferson Rider: Dan Plunkett
ryan sheckler | full cab | facebook.com/etnies | @etnies
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