I had been working at Skateboarder Magazine for the last 13 years. I started interning there in 1999 and somehow got the Photo Editor’s job in 2000 through knowing the right people and just lucky timing. I then worked my way up to the Editor’s position there in 2007 where I held down that position until Skateboarder got shut down this past August. And once again due to some fortunate events of there being an open Editor’s position here at TransWorld around that time, I was able to apply and get the job here. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.
My first TWS was the Dec. 86 issue with Rodney Mullen on the cover and the cover blurb “Special No Themed Issue.” My sister saw it at the grocery store and brought it home to me. I was blown away. I didn’t know skateboard magazines existed. I had been skating for a while by that time and used to look at Freestylin BMX magazine just to see a few skate photos in the back of that, so when I saw that TWS I was instantly hooked and hung up all the photos on my wall.
TWS‘ hallmark has always been amazing photography of the biggest names in skateboarding. Growing up with TransWorld meant I was always seeing the best skateboarding being done by the best skaters shot by the best photographers. That documentation of skateboarding is unsurpassed.
Give us five of your favorite photos you’ve shot and the story behind them:
Brooklyn Projects in LA built a sick little mini-ramp in 2004 behind their shop on Melrose that was tightly tucked away in the alley. Our Skateboarder offices used to be just a few blocks away from it, so [Aaron] Meza and I would go and session it when we could. This day was really cool because we got to skate with Chad Muska. Chad was deep in the Hollywood scene during this time, so a Muska sighting was very rare and a skate session with him even more rare. I was even lucky enough to snag this photo of his backside nosepick before the end of the session. It’s the only photo I have of this fun, janky ramp and it’s has The Muska in it. So stoked.
Leo has always been f—king gnarly and that’s why I love him. I asked him to do the Either/Or page in our magazine which was an old single page department in the mag where we shot mirror images of some tricks. Since the photos would only run half page, most dudes took it easy and didn’t get too crazy, but not Leo. He decided he wanted to backlip and frontlip this knobbed rail in San Clemente for it. I said, “Are you sure? You know it’s only a small photo on the page?” And he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Eh, that’s fine.” So sick. What’s not to love about that fucker? Leo rules.
Not much to this photo but I just love that Tony Alva, one of the OGs of modern skateboarding, is still out there with the eye of the tiger. It looks like he’s surfing a big concrete wave.
Back in 2001, we got a call from a production company that was shooting a Bagel Bites commercial in downtown LA featuring the rising young star known as the Hawkman. They invited Mike O’Meally and myself to come down and shoot photos while Tony warmed up on the ramp before the commercial shoot that night. They built this ramp in an empty parking lot next to the Staples Center and had that rad backdrop of buildings that I thought look so surreal for a vert skate shot, so I was hyped on how this photo came out. It’s one of my all-time favorite skate photos I’ve shot. And don’t overlook the trick, it took Tony a bit to pull the backside Smith grind across that huge channel. I shot a whole roll of film and this was the only frame that came out perfect. It was a good day.
This is my all-time favorite photo I shot. This was my idea and I couldn’t believe I pulled it off. My favorite skate video of all-time and I got bring them all back together for the first time in 20 years. I still trip out when I look at this photo.