I was a bit of a late bloomer and picked up my first skateboard at 17. I got my first digital camera for my 18th birthday and inherited my fathers old 35mm SLR a little while later. My skating and photography kind of grew together as I was skating more and meeting more people, I ended up shooting more photos of skating than skating myself. When I started working for a skateshop, I started shooting photos of the team’s riders for the store and it snowballed from there.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
There isn’t one single photographer that I say inspired me to take up photography, but there have being many that have inspired and helped me out along the way. David Read, Jake Mein, and Mark Barber shot pretty much all the initial skateboarding images I looked at, they put up with my pestering and gave me some great advice. Dave Chami has produced some of the most interesting images of skating and his experimental photography has always made me rethink the way I shoot things and driven me to try to shoot more interesting photos. Jonathan Mehring’s skate travel photography also gets me really hyped, as I love to travel to new places/countries and he has taken that to the extreme.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
The best advice I have ever being given is just have fun. If you are having fun you’ll be motivated, easy to get along with, and people will be hyped to shoot with you. The worst advice I’ve had is people telling me to buy better gear.
I never have one favorite for long, at the moment it’s probably this. It’s of my friend Elliot on the way home with me on the LA subway. Neither of us had a car so we stayed at a friend’s house and then spent all day skating around Santa Monica shooting photos. Nearly had all my gear stolen by a homeless guy on crack, shot a bunch of photos, skated Stoner Plaza and ate some sketchy Mexican ice cream van food. Pretty much a perfect day.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
This photo is from a trip we did to an abandoned milk factory about an hour outside of Auckland. It’s a pretty typical derelict factory except for the recently installed 10 foot tall electric fence. A few tree climbs and mild heart attack shocks later we made it in. Skated a few typical derelict factory spots, broken glass everywhere, rough ground, tetanus, and asbestos aplenty. Then the real fun began, we found an unlocked warehouse with a fork lift with keys and gas in it among other gems. Half a hour of hooning around in a fork lift later we put the fork to max height and used it to climb back over the electric fence.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
The same advice that has being given to me, just have fun. If you aren’t having fun what’s the point really, you aren’t shooting skating to try and make a big paycheck or move up the corporate ladder. If you’re enjoying yourself, things normally seem to work out and if they don’t at least you had a good time doing it.
Do you prefer digital or film?
I shoot almost exclusively digital because its convenient and affordable, however I definitely prefer film. Film makes you slow down which not only makes you think more about your photography, but it also makes for better memories. The feel/look of medium format or 35mm film is also hard to match with digital photography.
What’s in your camera bag?
EF Canon 70-200mm F/4.0 L
EF Canon 28mm F/1.8
EF-S Sigma 10mm F/2.0 Fisheye
EF Carl Zeiss 50mm F/1.7
My grandfathers old Contax 35mm camera
Pocket Wizard MC2
3 Canon 430 ExII
3 Pocket Wizard TT5
1 Pocket Wizard TT1
1 Pocket Wizard AC3
Flashlight, tool, wax, duct tape, shoelaces, bearings, pocket knife, etc.
Your photography website if you have one:
I don’t really have a proper website just a blog, e-book and few photos on instagram.
Check out some more of Bearnard’s choice shots in the gallery below: