When I first got to know Dakota he was staying on a couch in the living room of a tiny apartment above the shop. I could tell he was a hard worker, but he hadn’t figured out what it is he wanted to do. I’m not sure what sparked him to start shooting photos, but once he did it was obvious he was hooked.Over the next year or so you could see his skill grow quickly. He would jump at every opportunity, taking jobs shooting weddings, assisting on corporate product shots, even taking a job at the camera shop down the street. All the while applying everything he was learning to his skate photography. It’s always nice to see hard work and talent pay off.—Eric Barkow, Owner, Embassy Boardshop
How old are you and where do you live currently and where are you from?
I am 25, from Columbus, Ohio and I have been living in LA as of six months ago.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I’ve been shooting skateboarding for about four to five years. I was shooting a lot of street photos just on a little 35mm Pentax camera as I would skate around through the day and never really wanted to put them together, but one day I was at some spot and a friend of mine let me use his 5d mark ii and flashes to shoot this photo while he filmed just to try things out. Then I was hooked.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
It was probably a few people over time. Mainly friends of mine that were shooting. I would see some of their photos and be hyped on it. Also, in high school we had photo classes and everything was black and white film, so the hands-on processing and rolling your own film really pulled me into it, but I was in and out of shooting up until six years ago when I started carrying that Pentax camera on me everyday.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
Best advice I have been given is to reach out and contact people about questions on photos. I’m constantly emailing photos to get critiqued and it’s really helped me out. I don’t really know the worst advice I have ever been given. Probably being told something along the lines of needing the best gear to take the best photo. I try not to retain those things.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
I’m always shooting so it changes a lot but at the moment this is my favorite.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
A group of us were in Chicago for adidas Skate Copa a few years ago and met up with a bunch of other guys from shops around Ohio. We were skating around downtown, I think near the Trump building, when Rodger Krebs showed us this bump to bar. It was a pretty quick bust, but he was able to squeak one over in a few tries. As I was going to shoot the photo, I saw the guy on the right walk right into the frame. I shot it anyways thinking it was going to be ruined, but he ended up covering the filmer. I was really into how it turned out when I took a closer look later.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photos?
Always reach out and stay in contact with people and just go out everyday with friends to shoot and skate.
Best thing about shooting in your hometown:
Knowing my way around the city. I’m constantly using GPS on my phone in LA and I hate it. My data is always done for.
Do you prefer digital or film?
I prefer film for sure, but I can’t afford it all of the time so I shoot a lot of digital.
What’s in your camera bag?
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/4 T*
Carl Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 T*
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 17-40mm f/4
Zenitar Fisheye f/2.8 with EOS Mount Adapter
Phottix Odin Wireless Trigger
Lumopro lp180r Flash-2
Wireless Shutter Release
A lot of batteries and SD Cards
Random rolls of 120 film